Everything touches your family. Even people and activities that seem to have nothing to do with you will in some way touch your family. Sometimes it is good to have another person's perspective about what is happening around us. This is that place.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Day 2—Expecting to Get What You Deserve?
says, "Expect to get what you 'deserve.'
Accept nothing less." No,
wait a minute. Maybe I heard my sinful
nature say that. Regardless of who said
it, hasn't this thought touched every family member in your home? Every ad in some way or another reminds you
that "You're worth it." Why
else would you stretch—or break—your budget to get a weekly manicure, the
latest mobile device, or a new car. Yet,
are any of these things that bad? If
someone is denied what he deserves, then he should sue or strike or
the Bible say?
Think you "deserve" a new car?
Phil. 2:5-8 "Your attitude should be the same as
that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very
nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but
made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human
likeness. And being found in appearance
as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a
doesn't pop someone's "I-deserve-better" balloon, then maybe nothing will
deflate it. God humbled Himself to take
on the human form with its limitations, lowliness, and physical weaknesses in
order to give to His human children something they could never gain on their
own—eternal life. He did not even
manifest Himself to a royal position and all the grandeur He deserved. Instead He was born in a manager, and His
first visitors were stunned shepherds straight from a smelly, sheep-filled
pasture. Jesus definitely deserved
better. Even so, He did what was best
I Corinthians 10:24 "Nobody should seek his own good, but
the good of others."
How can a
person get what he deserves if he is seeking the good of others? Basically, he can't.
I Corinthians 13:5 ". . . it (love) is not self-seeking, it
is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
of wrongs? Where would our court system
be without a record of wrongs? Not
self-seeking? Is it really self-seeking
just to expect to get what one deserves?
Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or
vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own
interests, but also to the interests of others."
Humility. That just does not seem to be compatible with
getting the good things you deserve.
Then again is that instruction to not look after one's own interests but
to be more concerned about the interests of others. At this rate, who is going to be looking
after your interests? At this point it
looks like one is going to do it.
that's the point. Or maybe the point is
that if a person is busy looking after the best interests of others, he will
not even notice if he is getting what he "deserves" or not. Maybe he will find out that he is already
This is a
tough one to teach your kids. The
biggest way for them to understand this principle is to see you live it
out. Are you always expecting to get
what you "deserve"? Are you
willing to put aside your own interests—time, privilege, possessions, and
comfort—for the benefit of someone else without
the promise or hope of getting something back in return? Sometimes I have just come straight out and tell
my kids they so not deserve something they thought they deserved. It sounds harsh. No one wants to hear they cannot have what
they want. Yet, is it not more cruel to
make someone believe they should have something that they do not need? Or that they do need but will not be able to
example of a conversation, let us pretend we have a 12-year old girl who wants
a cell phone of her own. I realize some
children have had their own phone for years by the time they are 12 years
old. This scenario is not a judgment
call on whether or not a child should have his or her own phone. Different situations result in different
final decisions; however, in our scenario the child does not need a phone.
Daughter: For my 12th birthday, I want a
Parent: You have a phone to use.
Daughter: No, I don't.
I just get to use yours sometimes.
I want my own.
Daughter: I need one.
Parent: You do not.
If you need to call someone, we have a phone right over there. Almost everywhere you go, you have access to
a phone. If not, I give you my cell to
use. You do not need your own phone. Also, I
do not need the expense of adding another line to our plan, and you do not have
the money to pay for one.
Daughter: If I get the money, can I have one?
Money is only part of the issue. The
other part is that you do not need one.
It does not matter if all the
other kids have one. You do not need
something just because someone else does—or thinks she does.
Daughter: I deserve a phone. I work hard.
I get good grades, and I help around the house. I should not have to go without a phone. You should treat me better than this. It's not fair.
Parent: You do not "deserve" a phone any
more than I "deserve" a new car.
My car has too many rust spots. I
have tried to correct many of the spots, but the rust still shows through. I feel like I have spent too much money on
repairs for it this year.
has a new car, and he always seems to get a new one when his old one starts
showing a little wear. He does not
"deserve" a new car any more than I do. Why does he always get new stuff and the
latest gadgets? It's not fair. But wait a minute, it is fair.
blessed to have a car no matter what it looks like. I may have been paying for repairs, but I was
able to pay for the repairs. That was an
answer to prayer. Besides a car I can
use, I have a home that is dry in the rain, comfortable in the winter, and a
family here with me. I have so much more
than some people. Maybe that's not
fair. I have much more than I
"deserve." Instead of worrying
about what other people have and I don't, I much prefer counting my
blessings. I am happier that way, and I
am more thankful. Thankful that God
gives me much more than I "deserve."
You are part of those blessings.
Daughter: You don't deserve me.
Parent: Maybe not, but maybe God was giving you what
you deserved when he made me your mom (dad).
Parent: I love you, but you are not getting your own
phone—yet. Consider that my gift to
you. You may not see denying you
something as a gift, but sometimes it is.
Your Turn: Are you fretting over something you think you
"deserve" but do not think you will get? How you handle this frustration or the fact
you see (or don't see) it as a frustration will guide your children into
believing (or not believing) they should have everything they
children currently struggling with something they believe they should
have? It may not be an object. It could be recognition, a privilege, or even
friendship with a particular person.
None of these things are bad,
but the attitude in desiring these items or the methods of trying to obtain one
of them may be sinful.
Maybe it is
something you need to discuss with them.
At the same time, REALIZE
that what appears to be a self-centered motive to get something they want, but
really be an awkward attempt to feel like they belong and are loved. In that case, it is not selfishness that has
touched your family but something else. Your
response to this situation will be different than one motivated by materialism. Pray that you can see what is truly
happening. Your children actually do
deserve that consideration.
If you would like more ideas on helping your children (and yourself) develop a Biblical worldview or to find out how to win a Wal-Mart gift card, go to the 31 Days Giveaway (Intro. Part II) post for more Touching Families blog links. If you want to check out other 31 Days' topics, see The Nester.