We hear a great deal about "privilege" these days, especially "white privilege." We don't hear anything about "Black privilege," "Latino privilege," or "LGBTQ privilege." Privilege is defined as "a benefit enjoyed by a person or by a group of people." Every person in this country of ours is a "privileged" person. Everyone enjoys certain benefits. Privilege becomes a negative factor in life only when the benefits are denied to individuals or to groups of people.
I'm white. I'm Christian. I'm privileged. I was privileged to be born and raised on a farm. I had the privilege of being raised in a Christian home. I benefited from a good education -- the first eight years, I walked two miles one way to school. I did my homework by the light of a coal-oil lamp and we had no electricity. In all the years of grade school, high school, college and seminary, no one lowered their educational standards so that I could get a passing grade. Also, I learned the "privilege" of hard work. All through grade school and high school, I had chores to do before I left for school and chores to do after I came home from school. In college and seminary, I worked two or three jobs to help finance my way through school.
Finally, I had the privilege of learning some valuable lessons from my parents: (1) reverence for God; (2) respect for life and respect for those in authority; (3) personal responsibility. If I didn't do the work I was expected to do, it didn't get done. If I failed, I had no one to blame but myself. I would gladly share these "privileges with everyone." You can also enjoy these "privileges" if you take advantage of what you have!
Christian privilege? Yes! I am truly privileged to be a Christian. It is my greatest honor and privilege to worship and to serve the one true God; there are no other gods worth my time and effort. It's a privilege to know that God loves me enough to save me from my sins. And what a privilege to glory in the Resurrection -- a testimony to God's power over life and over death!
And, I am so privileged to enjoy the best life ever while I'm here on this earth; plus, I have God's promise that I will enjoy life forever in heaven -- which is a million times better and more beautiful than anything I can imagine. The good news is that all these Christian privileges, and many more, are readily available to every person in this world! All one has to do is confess one's sins, repent of those sins, and move from being self-centered to being God-centered. It's your choice; no one is standing in your way.
Jesus tells a story about a wealthy and generous man who invited every person in the country to a gala banquet. He sent out personal invitations to everyone. What a privilege to be invited! What a privilege to attend the banquet! Yet, some made excuses why they could not attend. Plus, others entered the banquet hall and refused to sit down and eat because there were people there with whom they disagreed or whom they hated. So, they left, hungry and angry and blaming others for their loss of "privileges."
If you feel left out or underprivileged, you have only yourself to blame. We are all "privileged" in one way or another. Enjoy the "benefits" you do have and don't gripe about what you do not have. The only person standing in your way is you! Amen.
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 05/03/2018
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