What I Deserve
Brothers are wonderful relationships to have. They hear about how a woman treated you as less than what you are worth, and they instantly commit to uplifting you and telling you about what you deserve. In these encouraging moments, my inquisitive mind always asks me, “What do you really deserve?” It wasn’t until recently that I understood exactly what that is.
“I deserve” is a very easy statement to make, but most who make that declaration usually follow it with materials, experiences, relationships, or jobs that they are ill-equipped for. In their own delusions of grandeur, they think they are worthy of things they have no right to. I don’t fault people for wanting more for themselves. You should always want more for yourself, within reason and morality. My question to you is, “What makes you think you deserve anything at all?”
Think about it. You did absolutely nothing to get here. You didn’t convince anyone to give birth to you. More likely than not, you were born on a whim. It wouldn’t even be a stretch to say that your parents didn’t even know what your name was going to be before you arrived. On top of that, you didn’t go into labor to birth you. You didn’t feed yourself, you couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk, couldn’t change your own diaper, nor cloth yourself for years. You started your life indebted to someone else.
Some of you would like to believe you’ve paid your debts, but you haven’t. You’ll never be able to feed enough people, pay enough people, or serve enough people to get out of debt. Throughout your life, you have relied upon other people to help you live. Don’t think so? Have you raised and killed an animal for your meal today? Have you planted crops for your salad? Did you build the home you stay in? Did you establish the laws you abide by? Did you manufacture the vehicle you drive?
Some of you think you’ve paid enough people to deserve the services you use every day. Well, who do you thank for the money you’ve made? If you are an employee, you need to be thankful to your employer. If you’re an employer, you need to be thankful for the consumer. And we all need to be thankful for this system of currency, because we don’t own very many valuable items that can be traded for resources.
Some of you think the work you’ve put in was worthy of the pay you received to purchase the resources you use every day. Who determined that? You determined you deserved to be paid for your labor? United States had slaves not long enough ago, but you think your work ethic deserves what theirs did not? Again, I ask, what do you really “deserve”?
It is not my intention to harp on you as if you are ungrateful or unworthy, but to help you become aware of yourself when you start to rant about what you deserve. I’ve heard it all the time, “You deserve to be loved.”, “You deserve to get your book published.”, or, “You deserve everything your heart desires, because you’re a good dude.” As I mourned what felt like the loss of a really good friend, I asked myself, “What do you really deserve?”
If I didn’t deserve the heartbreak, the somberness, the crying, the aching, and the longing, what did I deserve? Philippians 4:11-13 and 1st Corinthians 9:19-23 came to mind:
“…I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
“For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.”
I have now decided that I deserve whatever happens in my life. Good or bad, punishment or blessing, I deserve it. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” The lessons I’ve learned, the miracles I’ve witnessed, the love I’ve felt for the very few women in my life, and the hatred I’ve felt for people I’ve never really known are all what I deserve.
What we deserve is not always going to be good. Sometimes, we deserve the bad that comes to us. We sin a lot, we are selfish a lot, and we make a lot of mistakes. Intention and remorse do not prevent consequences. Jesus had to die on the cross for a reason, and if you’re reading this (and even if you’re not reading this), guess what, you’re responsible for Christ Jesus having to die. God had to come save you from yourself, which brought in this bitter experience called death, so that you could still experience goodness here. As God has shown me, it’s not a big deal. He was going to do it from the beginning. But, accept that the entrance of sin into our reality means that death will come. It means that good and evil, as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil bore, will be our reward on this earth.
Do not become saddened by the presence of consequences, even the presence of consequences that are extremely tough to experience. As King Solomon wrote, there is a season for everything. For those of you who believe in Christ, the last thing you’ll experience is the removal of all pain and sadness that this life tried to force on you. This life will be like a scab you experienced in your early years. It made you cry, it bled, and it was bruised for a few days, but once it was healed, you forgot all about it and went back out to play. Don’t hate the hard seasons, but learn the lessons you are supposed to learn. Don’t forget, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil…”.
What we deserve is what we get. Yes, that means war, death, rape, thievery, manipulation, abuse, slavery, pig-headed politicians, jesting journalists, and all other evils. I say that from a place of never having to experience many utterly gruesome things, but I’ve learned that the horrid acts teach us that certain things are truly evil. I’ve learned from those who suffered in those seasons have the strongest of hearts and the toughest minds. We truly are receiving the knowledge we asked for when our ancestors ate the fruit from that tree.
I do not say “we deserve” as if we asked for it. Who in their right mind asks for suffering and trauma? No one in their right mind asks to be raped, abused, enslaved, tortured, or worse. I say we deserve it because it happened. Does it need to happen again? Of course not. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But what was learned? Who needed to learn what we learned about evil? That traumatic experience should’ve never happened. Yet, it did happen. Why?
The #MeToo movement exposed a lot of the horrors of men and women. I wish we didn’t have to learn such lessons on what is wrong. I wish we didn’t have to experience just how evil mankind and womankind can be. Sometimes, I wish Eve and Adam never ate the fruit. Thank God for His goodness and mercy, which allowed me to see a brighter side to life.
Have you ever made a baby laugh? Have you ever had a baby grow to be comfortable around you? Have you ever had a dog wag its tail at the very sight of you? Have you had a cat lay in your lap and purr? Have you ever been in love? Have you ever felt loved? Have you ever felt like you accomplished something in your life? Do you think these delightful experiences would be lessened if we had no evil to deal with?
There are some people who think the absence of evil would be boring. Do you agree? Do you think life would be better had you not experienced any evil, or would it have been dull? Think about the good things you take for granted, like sunshine, flowers, clean air, clean water, transportation, friends, family, love, and a toilet with working plumbing. I don’t know about you, but I have never been so grateful for a job until after I experienced a season of unemployment. That freedom – that moment of experiencing something good in all this evil – is all the more enjoyable after a suffering. I don’t know why.
Evil is evil. There is no justification for that, and I pray from time to time that God strikes down all of us for our evil, but it is something glorious when you break through that evil and finally settle down into goodness. Your perspective changes. It is not to say that evil is good, but to say that learning the difference between good and evil is a phenomenal experience – one that we deserve to journey through.
What you deserved is what happened to you. What you deserve now is what you are willing to do. What you deserve in the future is what you are willing to walk through.
Deservedness is not about feelings, but about actions. If you deserve to travel, pick a job that can pay for your travels, either through your wages or through actually paying you to travel. If you deserve to be pampered and loved, open yourself up to the idea of receiving it, and giving it, and then go find the one who can actually do it. If you deserve happiness, get away from the people, situations, and things that bring you misery. You have learned enough lessons. Move towards the blessings already. Step into the good!
If you come across misery again, don’t regret it. Don’t fight it, curse it, or wish it never happened. It did happen. Take from it what you need to learn, take from it something that others can learn from, and move back towards what you want. What you deserve and what you want are not always the same thing.
I say all this to warn you before you start that rant about what you deserve. Ask yourself, “Have I been evil lately?” This question cannot be asked from your standards, but God’s standards. Have I been putting myself into the right position to receive what I think I deserve? Am I in a season where I am learning for someone else to teach them what I have learned? Is what I deserve more so just what I want? Really think about your state of mind, state of heart, and state of being before you say fix your mouth to say what you deserve. Saying what you think you deserve can have you positioning yourself into a place where you will suffer more than you ever did before. Be humble.
You can say that you don’t deserve the evil that is happening to you, but have you forgotten the world you live in? We all deserve the evil that happens here. We all sinned! The wages of sin is death! We are still digesting the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is a stomach virus that is meant to kill us all! You think that somehow you don’t deserve the same experience as the countless number of people who suffered before you? What makes you so special that you don’t deserve to experience evil? Life should just take it easy on you because you didn’t know any better? Again, remorse and intention, and even ignorance, do not negate consequence. We were born into consequence and we shall live in consequence until we die. The difference is in what you learn and the actions you commit from your understandings.
I don’t know about you, but I will try my best to keep the attitude of trusting in God. After all, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” If my steps are ordered by God, and all things work together for the good of me, one who loves the Lord, what right do I have to say I didn’t deserve suffering? Who am I to say I didn’t need to learn that lesson? No, I’d rather stay humble and trust what God brought me through was what I deserved. I cannot change what I went through.
Some rewards we will not like. Some lessons we’ll wish we didn’t have to learn. Regardless, accept them for what they were: paths that you needed journey through to become the awesome person that you are today. Do not forget yourself when you see the evil of others. You are right there with them. Instead, accept that life in a fallen world is just as miserable as it sounds. The knowledge of good and evil is a weighty burden that reveals the cause and effect of life and death.
However, at the end of the day, what we deserve is what God says we deserve. And, God has already declared that we all deserve His love, the ultimate love, His goodness, the best goodness, His mercy, the kindest mercy, and His salvation, the greatest gift to all evil people. We deserve so much more than what is prevented by grace. We deserve so much more of the goodness that is promised by the Word of God. When you ask yourself, “What do I deserve?” make sure you take an accurate account of your evils and your hopes, and hold them up to the Word of God, and prosper.
Do not be discouraged. Do not be defeated. Do not be evil. But in all things “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” You deserve everything God wants you to have.
Go and get your blessings,
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 Philippians 4:11-13 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+4%3A11-13&version=NRSV  1 Corinthians 9:19-23 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+9%3A19-23&version=NRSV  Romans 8:28 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans+8%3A28&version=NRSV  1 Corinthians 10:13 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+10%3A13&version=NRSV  Genesis 2:15-17 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+2%3A15-17&version=NRSV  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+3%3A1-8&version=NRSV  Revelation 21:1-4 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+21%3A1-4&version=NRSV  Psalm 23 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+23&version=NRSV  Psalm 37:23-24 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+37%3A23-24&version=NKJV  James 1:2-8;12-15 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james+1%3A2-8%3B12-15&version=NKJV  James 2:10 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james+2%3A10&version=NKJV  John 3:16 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+3%3A16&version=NKJV  Psalm 23:6 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+23%3A6&version=NKJV  Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 6:23 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+2%3A1-10%3B+Romans+6%3A23&version=NKJV  Matthew 22:36-40; Luke 10:25-37 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22%3A36-40%3B+Luke+10%3A25-37&version=NRSV