I have the right to honk at people, don’t do stupid things. I have the right to complain about the waitress and not tip her, she did a lousy job. I have a right to let the football official know he is incompetent, dude is not fit to ref a little league football game. It’s my right! I have the right to tell my co-worker her decisions are idiotic, they are. I have the right to be curt with that old guy, life slows down for nobody pal. I have the right to slam that guy’s views on Facebook, don’t won’t to be criticized, don’t post that garbage about government – matter of fact, just don’t post anything.
I have the right to get mad when I was the first at the bus stop, and four people cut in front of us and packed the bus to the extent that Danielle, Gideon, and I couldn’t get on it. We had to wait another 20 minutes for the next bus, ghhh the humanity .
I DID have these rights to express my opinions, unfiltered if need be. Then I made the decision to deny myself, pick up my cross daily, and follow Jesus. The funny thing is, that if anybody professes to be a Christian, follow Jesus, have a relationship with Him, be saved, be a new creation, or to be Reborn, then he or she is stating to have made the same decision as me (at least by Jesus’ expectations in Luke 9:23).
The Lord is teaching me more lessons in Portugal then I care to admit. The glaring lesson is that my identity with Christ causes me to forfeit many of my self-entitlement claims. When Paul mentions our ‘large cloud of witnesses,’ the guy is not kidding. This is what I have observed. I become frustrated and react negatively at someone for trying to take advantage of some ‘right,’ and my reaction affects a relationship. It can be the relationship with that particular person, or someone who observes the interaction. Either way, my ‘right’ puts the focus on me and not furthering God’s Kingdom.
Let me give an example I see on FB. Let’s get into your wheelhouses . I know people have a right to express their opinions on political issues. The problem I observe is that many professing Christians become contradictions of Jesus’ mission when they indulge in their rights. Sometimes we get so upset, that we express disgust at another side’s idiocy; and we forget that the main goal as Christians is to win people to Christ, not to decimate the other’s argument on foreign policy. Some Christians write some of the meanest posts. Why? Because we feel entitled to our opinion. We have always been told we have the right… Other times, Christians become so passionate in their responses on issues like gay rights or abortion, that we don’t respond in love and gentleness. I have no problem with a person speaking truth. Matter of fact, I appreciate it. Jesus was full of truth as well, but also grace (John 1:14). So , when posting on FB, how do we justify looking past these words, “The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach,and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25)?
Let me conclude with a struggle in my life with regards to forgoing rights. I am very passionate when I play football. Sometimes, the referees in Portugal and I disagree about a call. Sometimes, they are extremely incorrect in their understanding of the rules. Sometimes, I feel the necessity to express my opinion on such errors (for the record, the dudes here have improved tremendously in just a year’s time. I really appreciate their growth and desire to get better). It took a long time, and I still have the occasional moment, but I am learning to abandon my right to be upset with the refs. It’s amazing how much my interaction with the refs and the other teams has improved since I resolved to deny myself on this issue. LOL, now I know I will be tested on this issue next game .
CHALLENGE: Where is it that you need to focus more on denying your ‘rights’ so that you have opportunities to further God’s Kingdom?
- See Danielle’s blogs for our prayer needs. The Lord is starting to open doors that were previously closed. I am fired up to see what happens next, bwhahahahaha .