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Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Opposites of Privilege

How can one word mean two opposite things? How can one thing so bad or so good become so good or so bad? The word “privilege” has connotations both bigoted and humble, of both complaint and praise, and of both cursing and blessing.
The two opposites of privilege are:
People, or situations where people, either 1) feel privileged, and are therefore thankful, or 2) they feel they deserve privilege. Let us take these two forms of privilege separately, in order to gain a godly perspective. Let us start with the negative one first.
‘Deserved’ Privilege
So many people get life wrong because they are deluded by a sense of deserved privilege due to plain ordinary sinful pride. It doesn’t help if we are Christian. There are probably just as many deluded Christians as deluded non-Christians in this way.
The test is thankfulness. The thankful never make light of their sin, but they don’t wallow in it either. They present themselves as honestly as possible. Integrity is their guide.
But there are still too many blind guides. There always have been and there always will be. They set their sights on the high things of God only to find legalism. Deep down inside there is the desire for deserved privilege. They expect privilege and, therefore, never feel privileged.
‘Felt’ Privilege
Those who feel privileged in whatever walk of life or situation they are in are thankful. They hardly miss an opportunity to look heavenward in praise of God. For the breath that is in their beings, through to their grip on life, for their families, and for their careers, their praise never runs out. They feel continually privileged. Privilege is a felt phenomenon. (This is the ‘privilege’ for which we are to aspire.)
This is God’s will for our lives—to feel privileged for our lives, and to discern the privilege in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. This, of course, is often not easy. Sometimes we cannot be thankful. And God understands.
But, as we look back on difficult times, we are able to see God’s faithfulness to get us through, because of the faith we can exemplify due to the grace God gives us.
The consummate of all privilege is the grace of God given freely in Christ’s name.
***
There are two types of privilege: we either feel we deserve privilege or we feel privileged. The former leads to an unsatisfied, wasted, and cursed life. The latter, where we feel privileged to exist and to serve in this life, leads to joy and peace, because we are full of hope and love. We must live life by faith to feel privileged.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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