Pride, Lust, Envy, Greed, Gluttony, Wrath, Sloth…traditional deadly sins of which we are all familiar and from which we all suffer. From these core drivers come the ugliest of human behavior – betrayal, deceit, violence…
But there is a new sin emerging.
Or rather one which has emerged and has fully gripped our society: Entitlement.
Entitlement looks a lot like Greed, but it’s become so much more all-consuming and rampantly present than simple Greed. Greed is defined as an “intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.” So Greed, in short, is desire. Entitlement is, somewhat benignly I think, described as “the fact of having a right to something.”
Well, we’re Americans, so rights a good thing, yes? In fact we built a country on the premise of having certain inalienable rights, did we not?
So what’s the problem?
It’s this: We have, through intent or ignorance, fostered an entire nation filled with individuals who genuinely believe they are entitled to their greed. The world owes us something, we are entitled to all that is available in the free world, and we are entitled to have it without working for it, paying for it, earning it.
Coincidentally, while searching for the exact definition of Entitlement, Google was kind enough to provide this Entitlement Definition & Graph that shows an exponential increase in the use of the world Entitlement starting in 1950. Perhaps we’ve twisted it’s meaning for our own selfish purposes, as humans often do with so many things, and now here we sit with Entitlement compounding Greed and leaving us with only a weak, lazy, spoiled people to represent us, to carry us forward.
How proud our forefathers must be.
I did not grow up rich, and I’m not rich today. My parents were not married. My dad was an alcoholic. I did not grow up in one place. There were days I wore dirty clothes to school. I was not one of the popular kids, and no one paid for my education. I made bad choices, did stupid things, and have had to reconcile myself with a lifetime of regret. I’m up to my ears in debt for a multitude of reasons.
And while there are things I desire, I want for nothing. I’m proud of what I have because I worked – and continue work – my ass off to get it. And so I know the value – not the worth but the value – of my life. I can’t imagine being happy any other way.
If you want a better life: work for it. Earn your way, build your world, make the right choices, lay your own foundation brick by brick, and then keep doing that and appreciate all you have created. Revel gloriously in your own ability to survive under any circumstance.
If you fight one sin fight this one. Fight Entitlement.
Because here’s the thing…
Parents, children, all those of you who live today, those who believe their lot in life is not of their making, those who will have a hand in raising future generations or touching lives, hear this now and believe it: The world owes you…nothing.