“Love Your Naamans”
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call the name of the LORD is God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
II Kings 5:11
This past week my thoughts have been on entitlement. Entitlement is an issue. It is rampant in our culture. It is an issue that we read about and see it all the time. Do we really know what entitlement is? Are you confused about it?
Have you ever heard these statements:
“I deserve better.”
“I deserve more.”
“I deserve it all.”
“People should take care of me.”
“I’m entitled to more than I’m getting.”
I know that I have heard these statements, even out of my own mouth. Are they right? I started looking into it. The Bible gives us a good example of a man who suffered from entitlement. You will find his story in II Kings. His name is Naaman.
Naaman, as we read in the Bible, was a commander of a powerful army, a strong soldier, and was well regarded by his superiors and yet, had leprosy. At this time, there was no known cure for this disease.
One of Naaman servants told him where he could go to be healed. So he went to Elisha with his horses and chariots. Elisha told him that if he washed in the Jordan River seven times, he would be cleansed.
Here’s where we read of Naaman’s entitlement:
Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
2 Kings 5:12
Entitlement comes with two attitudes:
1. I am exempt from any one responsibility, and
2. I am owed special treatment.
In other words, I don’t have to carry my own burdens, and I should be treated differently.
Naaman presents both of these characteristics in his response. First, in Naaman’s mind, he was owed special treatment or at least a proper acknowledgment. Second, Naaman felt that he should be exempt from responsibility. He didn’t want the responsibility to follow orders by washing in the river.
We all have a Naaman in our lives.
We all know a Naaman, perhaps it’s a co-worker, family member or friend who wants you to wave a hand over their situation and fix their problems. Maybe you have a son or daughter that, despite your best parental efforts, has chosen a path of laziness. They feel they deserve special treatment with no responsibility.
Here’s what we need to remember:
Change happens in the presence of compassion (love). Before you look at that Naaman in your life and pretentiously point out all their failings, remember that we have all been a Naaman. The Bible tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”(Romans 3:23).
Here are a couple of things that we can do to help (in my opinion):
1. Be truly “for” them.
Naaman’s servants wanted him to be healed. They wanted to truly help him. I feel that entitled people need alot of our support! Even when they drive you crazy, frustrate you and make you feel helpless, they still require the elements of grace. We have all failed, and we will all need second and third chances.
2. Be black and white about your expectations.
Entitlement often causes people to not listen well to requirements and to others’ needs and expectations. Because those things don’t support their view of themselves as special and above the rules, they tend to dismiss them. So what can we do? We can be black and white with them.
At the end of Naaman story he was healed. He had encouragement, patience and wisdom from all his servants, and he ultimately followed Elisha’s orders.
I believe that entitlement can be helped and I believe that if we aren’t careful, this entitlement mentality will invade our relationship with God. Does God owe us anything? No, I believe that we owe him. In all reality, we owe God and the good news is that he doesn’t give us what we deserve. Instead, in mercy he gives us life! He gives us eternity and freedom and forgiveness and hope and love and truth.
Do you believe it?
I know that God’s paths work for our good and for His glory. I would like a chance to make a difference. Give me compassion for the Naamans in my life.
Happy Monday, dear friends!