Inalienable, God-given Rights? There is only one….
Devotional Thought of the Day:
12 Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children. 13 They did not become God’s children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father. 14 The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son. John 1:12-14 (TEV)
255 Jesus came to the Cross, after having prepared himself for thirty three years, all his life! His disciples, if they really want to imitate him, have to convert their existence into a co-redemption of Love, with their own active and passive self-denial. (1)
A lot of my Facebook recently has been filled with people demanding their, or someone else’s “rights”. Here are a few of them.
- a right to a “living wage”
- a right to sexual freedom
- a right to speak our against sexual sin
- a right to life
- a right to end life
- a right to live in a democracy
- a right to own guns of whatever type
- a right to religious freedom (some claiming that right is infringed on in the USA… some really showing how it is infringed upon in places like the Sudan, or North Korea, or Syria. you can actually sign online petitions here in the U.S.A to petition the leaders in the Sudan and Iraq to not follow their laws…
- our right to be treated the way we want in any given relationship.
In some cases, these rights are considered to be God given, or inalienable or universal rights. My sense of irony would ask, in some cases do we want everyone in the world to have that right. For example – in the case of guns, if the right is truly inalienable, do we want our enemies to have the same right? What about those who are violently unstable? Do we want other countries to be able to tell us what we can or can’t do, based on their understanding of what is right?
Even as my thoughts find the irony in such demands, there is something more serious going on here. The idea of “rights” is quickly becoming a form of idolatry, with the idol being us, and our opinion. God doesn’t given these rights (neither does the Constitution – which can be another idol at times) unless we think we speak for God, or more realistically, if we have created God in our own image. demanding our own “God given rights” is often more simply our way of saying life isn’t fair. An adult way of throwing a tantrum and saying we don’t like the what we are given.
Don’t get me wrong – some of these rights are given to us, legally, by powers that ave the right to grant them. Others may have been given out of turn, but still, legally, they may have been given.
I am speaking about when we add “God given” or inalienable (which is the same thing if you think it through)
In talking of God-given rights, there is only one I find in scripture. The right given to those who trust in God, to be called His children. That can be unpacked, talking about being born again in baptism, talking about God bringing us into a relationship with Him, forgiving our sins. That is the right that God gives to us, one that neither Satan, the world, a government, enemies, nor even family and friends can deny us. To spend our life walking with God, knowing that He is there, that He loves us, that everything that happens is promised to work out for good. (That does stretch our trust at times) Knowing that we are His kids, that He is our dad.
BTW – if we are His kids, that means we will be sometimes treated like His only begotten son. That means, as we imitate those like Paul when they imitated Christ, we will need to deny ourselves, and take up a cross. We will have to give up our man-given or perceived to be given rights, We will have to lay down our lives. Not because we are commanded to, but because that is what those who walk with Jesus do, and have done for two centuries.
When we do, our lives testify to something far greater than our rights.
We testify to the God who gives, who sacrifices because of love, who gives mercifully, who walks with us through our lives, even through the times we make a mess of things. Even when the world is going to kill us.
So next time you think about your rights…. think first of your being a child of God. It will help put things into perspective.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1247-1250). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on May 21, 2014, in Devotions, The Furrow and tagged God-given rights, imitation of Christ, Rights, sacrifice, self denial, St. Josemaria Escriva, walking with God. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.
Well said Dustin. The Apostle Paul also talks about his rights as an Apostle, yet, he places his responsibilities as an Apostle as someone going about God’s work, far and above that of his rights.
thanks Craig – over here – on all those issues – it is a hot button..
Yes. I have seen that. Sadly, it echos little trust in God, and perhaps more echos the fear behind the left behind time eschatology.