(Thanks to my husband, Larry, who shared this in our new book, Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today.)
As Christians we have no rights and entitlements. We can only rightfully claim the promise of our inheritances in Christ and any other promises made in Scripture. How deceived our minds and hearts can become.
I, Larry, have experienced a deceived heart while driving. I have become angry when someone went too slow, cut me off, or seemed so clueless that they momentarily ruined my day. At times, I’ve even found an inappropriate adjective easily popping from my tongue that describes a character flaw in that driver which does not reflect the image bearing status of him or her.
Being easily Hooked began to trouble me. After all, I didn’t know that person. I knew their behavior said nothing about me, but I was vexed by these angry outbursts that seemed to come from nowhere. I wondered, “What can be underneath this anger? Why do I have such trouble checking the erupting feelings and preventing the fruit of the Spirit to flow through me?”
So I started examining my heart. I remembered that Kathy and I went on our first overseas ministry trip to Caracas, Venezuela. Traffic was so congested there that getting around the town during the day was always bumper to bumper. If there were two lanes of traffic in one direction the drivers would make it three. I learned there are red lights you must stop for, and then there are red lights you never stop for because you will get rear-ended. In all this crazy driving I never saw another driver get angry. Everyone moved in real close and just honked their horns to alert their driving “neighbor” that they were there. It was clear, no one had the expectation that they had personal space. The entire street was fair game. Everyone just honked their way around town in what seemed like a chaotic order that made sense to them. They drove like madmen without the “mad.”
We know the American highway system is vastly different. We expect, no, we demand our personal space. Let’s face it, many of us are totally self centered while we drive.
As I reflected on the root causes of my anger, the Lord showed me there was something darker hiding beneath my anger. Comparing the driving culture of third world countries and ours gave me a glimpse of what was really going on in my heart. I expected self-fulfillment with no obstacles because I felt I was worthy and entitled to receive such good treatment. I was Hooked because I possessed an entitlement attitude fueled by my childhood Vow to always remain in control.
When drivers bothered me, it felt like I was losing control. That other driver was in control, and that was unacceptable. Therefore, I could call them names because they obviously didn’t recognize my value.
I was convicted when I realized my anger was grounded in a sense of entitlement. As an act of suitable repentance, the Lord lead me to share this revelation with a men’s Bible study I was leading. I remember saying, “In my selfish hubris, I kind of expected all the other drivers to get out of my way and yield to my right to drive the highways unrestricted.”
It was an ugly revelation. I confessed to them how I repented of my pride. It was clear I did not have an anger problem. I had a self-inflated-me problem. I was shocked and embarrassed with my high opinion of myself.
I can honestly say, I was unaware of this unredeemed area of my heart until I started examining why I became Hooked while driving and the Vow that was the foundation for it. I was surprised how the smoke of my anger was merely evidence of the burning fire of pride and presumption in rebellion to Christ.
As a result of going to God’s living spring, I found myself less stressed in driving. I stopped getting hooked by other drivers, although imperfectly, and I found myself giving grace to other drivers who made mistakes. My life is slower by choice now. Entitlement is a pernicious belief that drives us to expect we can get life on our terms. It leaves God out of the picture.
What do you feel you are entitled to? What are you counting on for fulfillment? What are you afraid God will not provide? What if he said “drink from me only”? Could your entitlement of choice reveal a Vow?