Life, Madison House

What is Privilege?

I simply don’t care about how much I have or don’t have.

I have privileges that no one can take away.

For instance, someone in high school asked me once if I was upset that prayer in school had been banned.  “No,” I responded, “I still pray everyday, on my own, in private. Nothing can stop me from petitioning God.”

In the iconic movie, Silence of the Lambs, the antagonist serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, drives home a hard to follow Biblical point that God has been communicating to mankind since Cain killed Abel:

Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now.

Clarice Starling: No. We just…

Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day.

 

This is referred to in Scripture as the, “Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life.”  I see something that I want, and I decide that I have to have it.  I then set in motion the steps to take it by any means possible.

The desire to have more or get more than we need is non-biblical and leads to murder, strife, theft…you get the point.

So what does God’s Word say about privilege?

The common story of Job is not lost in this.  Job who had everything and lost everything had this to say about privilege:

Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return there.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Essentially he is saying, “I started with nothing, I will end with nothing. Anything I am given in life is God’s, and His to give and take away.”

Or as James says, in James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”

 

Think of it this way.  If you are angry at someone else for having more than you do then ultimately, you are angry at God.

God has blessed them, and that’s not your decision what they do or don’t do with that blessing.

Scenario:

There’s a knock at the door, you answer it and a man is standing there.

You’ve never seen him before but he seems vaguely familiar.

“Yes?” You ask.

“Hey,” he says smiling, “I couldn’t help noticing when you and your wife were at Starbucks, earlier today, that she is a beautiful woman.  Unfortunately my wife isn’t as hot as yours,” (he holds up a picture of her) “so I’m going to come into your house and have sex with your spouse, otherwise it just wouldn’t be fair.”

You and I both know you’re not going to let him in.  Any man who really loved his wife wouldn’t give her away to a best friend, let alone a perfect stranger.  In fact this scenario seems ridiculous.

Is it?

Isn’t this what men are really saying when they look at porn and chase after other women? Or what women are expressing when they read Erotica.  The pressure wives put their husbands under to bring home more money so they can have nicer things, or the pressure men apply to their wives to have “better bodies” and “look more attractive, like so and so’s wife?”

We’re saying that the blessing God has given us in a spouse or lack thereof, isn’t good enough.

Philippians 4:19 is so easy to quote but so difficult to put into action on a belief level.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Our needs (spiritual, physical and emotional) are satisfied, (NEEDS, NOT EARTHLY DESIRES), are satisfied in a relationship with the person; Christ Jesus.

And coveting what others have (politically, sexually, financially, socially, etc.) is a sin.

Exodus 20:17, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

How has this verse been forgotten?

Looking over the fence and wanting the same privileges that your neighbors have only leads to sin.

James 3:16

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. ”

Conversely, how has this passage been pushed aside?

Mark 12:44

They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.”

Rich, poor, whatever color, green alien blood, I don’t care; we can all give what we have to the service of Jesus.

Romans 12:15

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

When someone has been blessed by God in any way, I’m excited for them.  I’ve been there – it’s a really cool experience to be blessed by God in a financial, spiritual or emotional way.  When people come on hard times, I feel great sorrow and try to do all I can to help.  I’ve been there – parental suicide, eating out of the garbage in Seattle, friends and kids we work with dying, and so on.

Let’s move forward with a loving Christ-like response instead of enviously longing for the same privileges as others or selfishly holding back the blessings He has given us that were meant to be shared with all.

Am I obsessed with the things that are supposed to be given unto Cesar or am I seeking first the kingdom of God?  This country will fade away as all other nations before it and end up as nothing more than a page in some kid’s history book.  Do we really want that child reading that the American legacy was about fighting over who had the most stuff or rights?

I want the privilege of being thankful despite the ups and downs of my circumstances.

I want the privilege of always responding in love, weather I agree with you or not.

I want the privilege of sharing in others pain…and their joy.

I want the privilege of being able to give without expecting anything in return.

I want to love my wife and children in such a powerful way that no financial gift could ever replace that love.

I’m going to ask myself every day:

Have I given enough?

Have I given to those in real need and not to those who greedily demand that I do so? (Pray for wisdom and discernment in this area, a lot of scams out there.)

Am I following/talking to Jesus Christ each day and seeking to use my gifts and talents for him?

You’re welcome to join me, but if you don’t…John 21:21-22. (I wrote down all the other ones for you, you can open your Bible just once.:) )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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