When did this happen? The largest jump in entitlement spending occurred during the Great Society programs of 1964-65, but most people trace the root back to the Depression and Roosevelt's New Deal programs. Just to have a date, the Social Security Act was passed January 17, 1935, with the creation of the original "Welfare", AFDC, and the relief programs we have today. At that time "relief" was $18 per month for one child and $12 per additional child.
Entitlement programs are not necessarily bad. When a man has had his wages taxed his whole life, I see little wrong with his picking up a Social Security check. He is, theoretically, just getting his money back, money he loaned to the government for their use and which they are returning. But entitlement in general has become a bad word. To most of us it means "the belief that one is inherently deserving of special treatment," and not because it is earned.
I wish I had a nickel for every conservative politician, even every Christian, I’ve heard complaining about people who have entitlement issues. The ones who act like the world owes them a living; like they should never have to reap the consequences of their sown wild oats; who think that having money or, interestingly enough, NOT having money, makes them exempt from the laws of the land. While I find myself agreeing with most of those opinions, I also see this: every one of them, politician and Christian alike, has an entitlement issue of his own.
First there is the husband who wants everything done in a certain way, even if it is a lot more work for his wife; who demands certain foods cooked a certain way and served with certain other foods or he refuses to eat it; who requires every item of clothing pressed, even if they are permanent press and no one else will know the difference; who wants his big boy toys because he’s “worked hard and earned it,” even if it means others in the family will do without needs. After all, he is the head of the house.
Then there is the wife who wants everything the neighbors have, even if the neighbor makes a lot more money; who thinks she must have plenty of time and money allotted for preening; who considers sacrificing for her family a kind of torture; who believes that life is for recreation and begrudges every minute she must spend caring for the children or keeping the house or cooking meals; who recites her list of woes to anyone who will listen every time she has the opportunity so she can be properly pitied and praised for dealing with them. After all no one should have to go without a new pair of shoes for every outfit.
And don’t forget the children these two raise: selfish, materialistic whiners who are never satisfied; who think that their parents owe them every new electronic gizmo the world creates; and who never once utter the word, “Thank you,” much less actually treat their parents with enough respect and courtesy to even look up from their phones and carry on a civil conversation. After all, they didn’t ask to be born so they deserve everything they want to make up for it.
Do you think these attitudes haven’t invaded the church? Where do you think we get those members who refuse to do as they are asked for the sake of visitors from the community? Why, no one can have my perfect parking place (under the shade tree) or my perfect seat (in the rear). Why do you think we have people who treat their precious opinions like the first principles of Christianity—basic and undeniable, and shame on anyone who isn’t as enlightened as I am? Where do they come from, the people who will raise an argument about the trivial just to show their smarts and regardless of who may need the larger point being made? Or the ones who, when they suffer, raise their fists at God and complain, “I’ve served you all my life. Why me?” as if they could have ever earned any blessing at all?
And why do you think we have such a hard time overcoming a single besetting sin? “That’s just the way I am,” we think, as if the Lord should count Himself blessed to have us and overlook it.
Yes, we are all guilty. And what does Jesus have to say about that when he hears us pontificating about “those people” with entitlement issues?
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye, Matt 7:3-5.
Be careful the next time you rant about entitlement.