Monday, June 4, 2012

The Right to No Rights

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed an explosion of so-called "rights." It may have started with the Civil Rights Act on 1964. But now, the mantra goes like this:

  • You have the right to a job
  • You have the right to a place to live
  • You have the right to a decent living wage
  • You have the right to 3 yrs. of unemployment insurance.
  • You have the right to free health care.
  • You have the right to free birth control.
  • You have the right to an education.
  • If you have a special needs child, he or she has the right to an education and the right to be treated as a normal child (even though normal children don't need an aide at their side at all times).
  • You have the right to live and work in a smoke-free environment.
  • You have the right to work in a fragrance-free environment.
  • If you live in Boulder, Colorado and you're a dog or a cat, you even have pet's rights. 
I've been reading the philosopher John Locke who greatly influenced our founding fathers. Locke based his understanding of individual rights and liberty on the Bible. He believed that we are endowed with certain inalienable rights: The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and because of Locke's writings, we have the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. 

I am so tired of hearing my fellow Americans clamor for this right and that right. As far as I'm concerned, we have no rights other than to love God and love one another. 

I become concerned for my own soul when I find myself claiming some of these rights. It means that I have become lost in the herd mentality and that I have forgotten my identity as a child of God. 

The more we demand special rights, the more it reveals our lost condition and how we are seeking to be the kings of our own little governments where everyone serves us and gives us whatever we demand, whatever right we feel entitled to.

I am reminded of one man who gave up all his rights and privileges for the human race.
Philippians 2:4-11 (MSG)
4 Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
5 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.
6 He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what.
7 Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!
8 Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.
9 Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever,
10 so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ,
11 and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
With God's help and strength, I want to go through this day, setting aside my privileges and rights. I want to look to helping, encouraging and strengthening others this day rather than seeking to have my own needs or rights met. Oh Lord, restore my soul, and renew a right spirit within me.

1 comment:

  1. Right on (again)! Another refrain we hear is, "That's not fair!" ("Fair" meaning what pleases ME or advances MY agenda.) Life doesn't have to be fair. God is still on the throne and His will is ALWAYS BEST - even when it seems unfair or a violation of our "rights". True contentment comes from letting God be God and joyfully submitting to His will.