Personal rights are a very sensitive topic.
If you’re breathing, you know this firsthand.
We’re in the midst of a pandemic that has shaken the world and as leaders attempt to regain control, millions cry out in protest due to their rights.
I’m not here to say that politicians are right or wrong, or to speculate on their motivations, or to offer my opinions for a resolution
Instead, I want to talk about the importance of our reaction to the perceived violation of our rights. The way we respond when we feel our rights are being trampled on reveals whether we are trusting in God or in ourselves.
If we’re honest, the moment we feel our rights are violated, all bets are off. When it comes to a relational conflict, we tend to resort to catty remarks, abuse, or even ending relationships. On a larger scale, when rights are violated by the government, we often see rioting and violence.
Are these healthy, productive, or godly responses to being oppressed? Absolutely not. But they are also not the problem; they are merely a symptom of the problem.
The root of our problem is our sinful pride that causes us to demand our rights – from our co-workers, from our boss, from our friends and family, from society, and even from God.
“Oh, but that’s not me.”
But I’d like to challenge you to take a step back for a moment and consider how you respond when…
If we’re honest, when someone violates our rights on the road, we get angry.
And when our husbands make a mess, or don’t help out with the household chores, we get angry.
When we have to work late, we get angry.
When people disrespect us, we get angry.
When we don’t sleep, we get angry.
There is a clear pattern that begins to emerge: anger.
If you remember, we previously defined anger as the result of our unwillingness to accept what God is doing in our lives; an unwillingness to accept God on His terms.
“Oh, but those are just little things. It’s just frustration. It’s completely natural.”
But the truth is that these “little things” and our natural reaction to them reveal a problem with our understanding of personal rights. Left unchecked, it’s these “little things” that build up until we become aggressive in larger ways with more significant consequences. Consequences like divorce, unemployment, traffic fines, and even addiction as we attempt to cope with losses we’re experiencing.
GOD IS IN CONTROL
When we respond in anger, and when we attempt to dismiss our anger as “only natural,” we reinforce our pride by telling ourselves we have a right to be angry, a right to vent our frustration, and ultimately, a right to act however we want when things don’t go our way. What we fail to remember, once again, is that everything that happens to us comes from God.
In a word: passionate.