A Personal Declaration of Self-Endowed Rights

declaration-of-independence

 “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776

According to our Founding Fathers, you and I have God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Since they are inalienable, they cannot be surrendered, sold or transferred to someone else.

It seems to me our human struggle is with a different kind of rights. Are we willing to surrender our self-endowed rights for a higher purpose? It’s a tough question that demands a thoughtful answer.

What do you do when someone you love hurts your feelings with harsh words or unwarranted criticism? My stubborn inner child is quick to demand her right to be right. In the same sweep of emotion, she also yearns desperately for the right to be understood.

You and I know our demand for self-endowed rights is detrimental to our relationships, as well our witness for Christ. When we refuse to surrender these so-called rights, they eventually become unwanted baggage. It’s a hard lesson to learn.  

Think about it. Was there ever anyone who was more right, or less understood than Jesus? Yet, what did He do? “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” I Peter 2:23

Ouch!

Who am I to think my self-endowed rights are inalienable? I once heard a speaker make a revolutionary point on the need to be right. Although he was talking to married couples, the concept applies to any relationships.

He asked, “Had you rather be right, or close?” As soon as his words settled, he dropped the truth bomb. “You can’t always be both. Your children won’t remember if you were right. But they will remember if you were close.”

Those words have become a part of my life. When I heed them, I’m better able to avoid petty confrontations over things I need to let go and let God handle it. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should avoid dealing with conflict. There are times when we must confront and confer with one another on important relational matters. More on that next week.

Meanwhile, had you rather be right or close? To be understood or to understand? Your answer to these questions may change your circumstances, perhaps even your life. What do you think?

Choose love

Advertisements
Comments
2 Responses to “A Personal Declaration of Self-Endowed Rights”
  1. Convicting thoughts, Liz. I’d rather be close and I want to understand, especially with my family. Not always easy, but it is always worth it.

    • I agree with you, my friend and you’re so right. It isn’t easy; in fact it’s impossible apart from God’s grace and power, right? Thanks for checking in. I love knowing you’re there. Liz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: