What would happen if we lived in a world where people cared about others more than they cared about themselves? If we lived in a world where hate was nonexistent; where apologies were in abundance and forgiveness ran in an endless supply. I’ve always been a bit bothered by the way that our society imposes the idea of “entitlement” on us. Entitlement as in, we are entitled to be respected, understood, and well, treated well. I know I sound crazy for thinking that that mindset is a bad thing, but because of it, too often, we hate, refuse to forgive, and are just plain mean. I myself struggle with being kind when I’m mistreated too– especially when it’s the same person mistreating me day after day. I question why they act this way when I deserve better. This mindset of mine that springs from entitlement never leads to anything good. It often leaves me disappointed with myself.
One of my favorite bible verses is Matthew 5:44: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” I love that verse because of how bizarre it is. I try to live by it, but I fail quite often. That’s the beauty of God and a relationship with Him; when we fail, He still loves us. Also, He uses those failures to show that He will help us to do better next time because honestly, in our own strength, it’s nearly impossible to show love to those that, according to our culture, don’t deserve it. That’s where we can begin to apply this bizarre logic. We can remove our sense of entitlement, and turn the tables so that we see ourselves as the ones that don’t necessarily deserve anything good. In doing this, I think it becomes easier to stop focusing on what we deserve, and to start concentrating on how we can show love to those around us no matter how they may treat us. Let hate’s response be love, and disrespect be met with compassion; for when we put others before ourselves, we will truly experience something great.