We had a lively discussion in Bible study yesterday about how other’s sense of entitlement irritates us.  A huge peeve of mine that illustrates what I’m talking about is that it really bothers me when non-physically handicapped people park in handicap spaces.  My father-in-law was a quadripilegic (sp?) for almost 20 years before he passed away just weeks ago.  In all of those years he was able to drive or at least be a passenger with others.  He NEEDED those parking spaces!  There are many other people who NEED those spaces, too!  However, most often I see people taking up those spaces who are perfectly capable of walking and getting around.  Why do people do this?  My guess is they’re in a hurry or are to lazy to walk any farther than they think they have to.  Others want to park in ‘open’ spaces to protect their expensive vehicles.  In short, these people feel a sense of entitlement to do this! 

Another example is those people who park in the Fire Lanes of public buildings – schools, restaurants, Starbucks, and shopping areas – with signs all around that clearly state, “NO PARKING”.   Just last Fall a member of my son’s football team was injured in a game.  The poor young man was forced to remain on the ground writhing in continual pain for almost 20 minutes because paramedics could not get to him.  PEOPLE WERE PARKED ALL ALONG THE FIRE LANE AND EVEN BLOCKED THE RAMP ACCESS ONTO THE PATH THAT LED DOWN TO THE FOOTBALL FIELD.  The paramedics couldn’t park their truck until the drivers of those cars could be found so that they could move their cars.  In the meantime, paramedics had to find an alternate access – much less convenient – while the injured player was suffering.  Why?  Because others felt entitled to ignore NO PARKING signs to make things easier or more convenient for themselves. 

We also spoke about drivers who are rude, cutting in front of others, plowing right  through 4-way stops when it’s clearly not their turn, and simply disregarding other drivers rights to suit themselves.  I often think that Kindergarten and preschool children would make better drivers than most adults because they know how to be kind to others and take turns in proper order. 

I used to approach people who parked in handicap spaces – in a kind way – to tell them about my father-in-law and how important those spaces are to the folks who really need them.  People always responded respectfully and offered their apologies or an explanation of why they took the spot.  I no longer approach those who I feel  the need to reprimanded for their arrogant acts of entitlement.  I guess I feel entitled to speak against entitlement here, instead.   🙂

The Bible reminds us that, as Christians, we’re called to turn the other cheek, return evil with kindness, and repay wrong-doing with blessings.  (I’ll add the Bible references for that later.  I’m out of time right now.)

So instead of yielding to the arrogant behaviors of others by acting the same way or speaking out of grace and rebuking them, I’ll do my best to do the Christian thing by trying to set better examples with my own actions.  And instead of making myself feel better by admonishing or convicting others (that’s not my job, it’s God’s), I’ll get in the habit of praying for blessings for those people instead.