Is there such a thing as a world without entitlement?
I am unsure if this is possible, though I have recently been reminded of the dangers of such an attitude.
We were recently in an affluent town in Switzerland which was unaccustomed to sharing bike paths, feeling entitled. While bike paths may seem at first a simple matter, entitlement is quite another. People who feel the world is obliged to serve them suffer in their interactions with others. Such interactions are void of flexibility and openness to value the other people’s point of view.
I found it interesting that a short distance from this affluent community, was situated a town of people who met your gaze and shared their bike paths. As a visitor for a short time, this second group of people helped me understand the Swiss were able to overcome an entitled worldview. Though, this feeling of entitlement is not just for Switzerland to understand, but people everywhere.
Narrow views of who can be welcomed are found in many places throughout the world. Unfortunately, this includes the church. Jesus encouraged his followers to not be limited by society’s place for them, for in the end the first would be last and the last would be first. Francis of Assisi also desired Christians in his lifetime to adopt a more fluid view of kingdom boundaries.
Our society is built upon human constructs and so often the church integrates these human ideals into its interpretation of the gospel. How would interactions between the church change if entitlement was eliminated in interactions with those different from the norm?
Despite affluent positions in the world, humility can be integrated into worldview. The structures of social institutions are less solid than we realize, but creativity and courage are required to push these boundaries.
So, is it possible to have a world without entitlement? I hope so.