An attitude of entitlement is one we come across often in South Africa and it often piggy banks on the fight for one’s rights.
However, there is a difference between fighting for what is rightfully yours by law or contract and feeling or believing something is yours because you think you deserve it.
Unfortunately we are seeing more of the latter in the culture of our society in South Africa, often disguised as the former. Personally, I think it is based on the Esau syndrome, a growing trend in our world.
“Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.” Heb 12:16-17 (MSG)
Esau traded long term blessings that were rightfully his by birth, (Gen 25:27-34) for a single meal of what was probably a bowl of lentils. He chose to satisfy his short term need, or appetite without quantifying the long term value of his blessings.
Much later, when he wanted to get his blessings that he was entitled to, to change the choice that he had made, it was rejected and there was no way to put right what he had done, even though he wept about it bitterly and begged for the outcome to be different. (Gen 27:30-41)
It is easy when we see something we really want, to give into our first impulse and get it. In a moment we push or argue for something which we feel we deserve now, without giving due consideration to the longer term costs involved.
At first we feel intensely satisfied and empowered because we have obtained something we really wanted, but immediate pleasure often does not have its eyes on the future.
We see this in:
- Buying material possessions on credit or at the wrong time which have long term implications to our financial position.
- An illicit relationship we feel we have to have to meet our current desires, without considering the impact it has on other long term relationships, like marriages, children and friendships.
- It is in the serving of a basic physical appetite that has habit forming implications, with no consideration to the long term impact of said habit we are forming, ie. smoking, drugs, alcohol, pornography etc
- It is in giving our children all their desires and demands, without teaching them to work hard.
- It is serving our appetite for food and drink without considering the long term impact to our health.
- It is demanding in our workplace without considering the financial health of our employer.
- It is demanding from our government, without considering the economic future of our country.
- It is living the way we want to live without considering our eternal destination.
The end result of the Esau syndrome is regret. When we consciously trade, (not steal) short term benefits or appetites for long term blessings, we will eventually regret the loss of long term blessings.
It is important to think about our choices, to live right and make wise decisions. Decisions made with the Esau Syndrome are often made in a moment; spontaneously; with peer pressure; when we are weak or tired; when we have an urge; when we don’t have all the facts and are easily deceived. It fails to look at the big picture, consider all the value and weigh the cost of the long term implications.
Let us all make every effort to look out for and identify when the Esau Syndrome is operating in our lives.
Father help me to be on my guard when my desires for things that I want, get very strong. Help me not to make decisions in a moment, but to think carefully about my actions and the long term implications. Help me listen to Your voice that warns me in my conscience. Help me to listen to the warnings of loved one’s around me. Help me to value the blessings that you have already given me by birthright, because I am a child of God.