The Dangers of Self-Entitled Thinking, "It's Not Just About Me"
Luke 15:25-32, New International Version
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Self-entitlement is when an individual perceives themselves as deserving of unearned privileges. These are the people who believe life owes them something; a reward, a measure of success, a particular standard of living.
Here’s what I propose are some ways in which the older brother demonstrates his struggle with self-entitlement, and a potential path forward for disruption of such self-entitlement.
1. When his brother is celebrated, he responds with anger instead of celebrating with his brother and being grateful he did not have to go down the road his brother did.
2. Instead of reaching out to the community in love, the older brother isolates and “pouts” assuming he was left out of his brother’s blessing.
3. Instead of serving his father out of the depth of their relationship, it appears that he was keeping score with his father and expecting a certain level of favoritism because of what he did.
4. When his brother is restored by his father, the one who is offended the most by the text, he slanders his brother’s past instead of speaking life into his future; he makes his brother’s restoration about himself instead of his brother.
5. BUT I believe this is path forward for the elder brother and for you and I:
A. The father can have more than one son - do not operate from a premise of scarcity
B. The father’s love for his older son has been expressed:
C. The same love which drives his father to celebrate his younger brother is the same love keeping him in the house as well - we are recipients of tailor-made grace and mercy.