Giving Up Our Rights

I Corinthians 13-4-7 4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. 8Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

Love does not insist on it’s own rights or it’s own way. This means that if we are walking in love not only are we not adamant about what we want, but we also don’t insist on what we rightfully deserve. That can be a tough one, because when it comes to the things we are justifiably supposed to have, many of us don’t want to give them up. It’s a little easier to put aside our personal desires, but our rights? That’s another story. Especially for those of us who live in the United States. It is ingrained in us that we have inalienable rights that are owed to us, that we deserve. While our “Bill of Rights” may not be the rights we feel entitled to every day, they are the basis for our country and therefore our lives. I think of people in other countries who don’t have rights. I remember hearing of a trip my husband took to India. He saw a man cutting a lawn on his hands and knees with a pair of scissors. When my husband spoke to him, he didn’t even feel worthy enough to reply but rather kept his eyes down and continued working. I remember when I was there speaking every day to the young man who worked in our hotel, yet he would never look up to meet my eyes and would only respond, “thank you ma’am”. These men didn’t feel entitled to anything- not respect, not kindness, not appreciation. Because of the families they were born into, they simply worked as hard as could, never expecting a thank you, kind word, or compensation for all they did. It was interesting to me that as I observed the particular young man from a distance interacting with his coworkers, I saw him smile laugh and generally seem content and happy. I think of women in other cultures who are not valued because of their gender and have no rights to anything. They are unable to have their own opinions, thoughts, dreams, goals, or ideas. They live their lives according to the standard of first their fathers then their husbands. Many of them, because they do not know another way, don’t have any problem with the way they live their lives.

While naturally we may look at people like this and feel a bit sorry for them, we can learn something spiritually from them. They do what they are told regardless of how it makes them personally feel or what they might actually want to do. Yet how many of us neglect to walk in love when we don’t get the respect we think we deserve and many times are actually worthy of?  How many of us when we don’t get what we want stop exhibiting the characteristics of love? We need to get to the place where we are obedient to the word of God regardless of our personal feelings or what we would prefer. At first it may seem difficult to give up our rights, but the more we put into practice the principles from the word, the more it will become a way of life for us. Once it becomes a way of life, instead of being focused on what we are giving up, our perspective will change and our focus will be on what we can give to others.

Love does not insist on it’s own rights or it’s own way. This means that if we are walking in love not only are we not adamant about what we want, but we also don’t insist on what we rightfully deserve. That can be a tough one, because when it comes to the things we are justifiably supposed to have, many of us don’t want to give them up. It’s a little easier to put aside our personal desires, but our rights? That’s another story. Especially for those of us who live in the United States. It is ingrained in us that we have inalienable rights that are owed to us, that we deserve. While our “Bill of Rights” may not be the rights we feel entitled to every day, they are the basis for our country and therefore our lives. I think of people in other countries who don’t have rights. I remember hearing of a trip my husband took to India. He saw a man cutting a lawn on his hands and knees with a pair of scissors. When my husband spoke to him, he didn’t even feel worthy enough to reply but rather kept his eyes down and continued working. I remember when I was there speaking every day to the young man who worked in our hotel, yet he would never look up to meet my eyes and would only respond, “thank you ma’am”. These men didn’t feel entitled to anything- not respect, not kindness, not appreciation. Because of the families they were born into, they simply worked as hard as could, never expecting a thank you, kind word, or compensation for all they did. It was interesting to me that as I observed the particular young man from a distance interacting with his coworkers, I saw him smile laugh and generally seem content and happy. I think of women in other cultures who are not valued because of their gender and have no rights to anything. They are unable to have their own opinions, thoughts, dreams, goals, or ideas. They live their lives according to the standard of first their fathers then their husbands. Many of them, because they do not know another way, don’t have any problem with the way they live their lives. While naturally we may look at people like this and feel a bit sorry for them, we can learn something spiritually from them. They do what they are told regardless of how it makes them personally feel or what they might actually want to do. Yet how many of us neglect to walk in love when we don’t get the respect we think we deserve and many times are actually worthy of? How many of us when we don’t get what we want stop exhibiting the characteristics of love? We need to get to the place where we are obedient to the word of God regardless of our personal feelings or what we would prefer. At first it may seem difficult to give up our rights, but the more we put into practice the principles from the word, the more it will become a way of life for us. Once it becomes a way of life, instead of being focused on what we are giving up, our perspective will change and our focus will be on what we can give to others.

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