We live in a world of rights. Human rights, animal rights, employment rights, children’s rights, parent’s rights, constitutional rights.
Its sometimes the first words we utter – it’s my right!!
We sometimes feel that we have earned our rights – nationality; education; experience; status; position in life – surely I have earned the right for respect, or acknowledgment, or that promotion, or that pay rise.
Of course there are good things that have come from human rights – the protection of the young and innocent; the defenseless or persecuted.
But generally, most of the time, what we call human rights, should be re-named as MY RIGHTS – WHAT I WANT!
Which is why we can find it so very difficult to give up what we want; what we think we deserve; what we expect is owed to us.
It is perhaps one of the hardest lessons for a human being to learn – to put others ahead of themselves – to put your desires second – humility!!
Henry Augustus Rowland, professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University, was once called as an expert witness at a trial. During cross-examination a lawyer demanded, “What are your qualifications as an expert witness in this case?”
The normally modest and retiring professor replied quietly, “I am the greatest living expert on the subject under discussion.” Later a friend well acquainted with Rowland’s disposition expressed surprise at the professor’s uncharacteristic answer. Rowland answered, “Well, what did you expect me to do? I was under oath.”
For most of us, we are not the greatest living expert on any subject. Therefore giving up our own sense of importance is hard to do.
But if we are Christians, followers of Christ, then give it up we must.