Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Opposite of Forgiveness is Entitlement

A friend (Julie Wright-Silander) tweeted this:

The opposite of forgiveness is entitlement.

Deep.  Very Deep.  A day later and I'm still pondering it.  I'm just trying to unpack this so pardon my rambling.

First up is forgiveness:
forgiving debts; forgiving for wrongs.  It carries that something is owed (money or reparations) and the item/gap is removed without payment.  I owe something to another and they close the gap without my filling it.  It is granted by the person in power.

Then the entitlement:
a given credit; owing of something expected.  I think it carries that I'm owed something by people in possession of the power to give it.  I am due something by another; they have to fill the gap. 

The -ness and -ment are about the attitude of each.  An attitude that I owed something and have been graced out of it.  Conversely is the attitude that something is owed to me and others work(s) must fill it.

I guess I have to agree, they are opposites.


  1. Dan - Well... For the record, I was referring to the forgiveness that most of us (me) struggle in everyday relationships. Not the kind required when great evil is done to a loved one. I won't be so bold as to go there. I think that many of us struggle with forgiving another because 1) We would never do such a thing (although we sure may have thought about it, or have done an equally unloving thing and justify ourselves) or 2) We feel like we deserve to be treated a different way. We deserve more. It's one thing to long for what is good and just. It's another thing to hold another person responsible for coming through for us. And to make them "pay" through lack of forgiveness if they don't. As if we *deserve* anything good. But maybe it's just me.

    This doesn't hit the issue head-on, but the underlying theme still shows up:

  2. I'm fairly certain that what I deserve, what I am actually entitled to, is not good. I deserve punishment (thinking deeply about it, as you were). I guess you can say I am entitled to it, because so many of my actions and thoughts are surely evil. I personally hate the idea of entitlement. I suspect it's at the root of a lot of bitterness.

    As for forgiveness, you know I just don't comprehend it. I get a tiny glimpse of it in my marriage, or through parenting, or even friendships. I (or they) could have been punished, but instead, forgiveness was offered. It takes so much love to forgive when we've been wronged. And that gives me just a glimpse of how much God must love us.