“Deserve”

It seems that it is more and more common to hear the relatives of a criminal, who has threatened or killed people, and who has been subdued or killed himself by the police, saying, “He or She didn’t deserve this.” Even more often we see people demanding benefits because “I am a victim of the system and I deserve them.” Nearly all of us at one time or another feel we deserve certain material things because we “have earned (merited) them through our hard work or other actions.” In the secular arena, rulers and diplomats believe they deserve special privileges simply because of their position.

During Jesus’ ministry on the earth the Scribes and Pharisees lorded it over the common people and felt they deserved the places of honor and the title of Rabbi (teacher), but Jesus called them blind guides and hypocrites because of their arrogance.  In reality, how can anyone who is made of dust (Gen 2:7) and depends upon God for his next breath, say he deserves all the daily blessings, health and wealth that he enjoys?

Ironically, Christians can brag and exult about some things.  Not about our good works (Eph 2:9) but about our Lord (1 Cor 1:31) (2 Cor 10:17) and in His cross (Gal 6:14).  Surely we understand that we deserve only condemnation and death because we were God’s enemy (Rom 5:10) until we were reconciled to God through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  We are declared righteous (Rom 5:19) and it is a conferred gift, not something we deserve.  Others around us deserve that we be good Samaritans, (Lk 10: 30-35) caring for their needs and suffering (Gal 6:10) (Tit 2:7) (Heb 13:16) (Jas 4:17).

–Jim Bailey