What We Deserve


“The grace of God is His active favor which bestows the greatest benefit upon those who deserve the greatest punishment.” -J.I. Packer

I shall never forget a conversation I had a few years back with a dear friend as we were catching some rays beside the pool on a beautiful day. In a feeble attempt at nobility, I mentioned in passing that we really didn’t deserve the blessings we had been enjoying that particular day. His response was unexpected and profound. He simply said. “Let’s not talk about what we deserve.” Now there’s an honest man.

Have you ever noticed how often commercials inform you that you deserve some benefit? Whether it’s McDonalds insisting “you deserve a break today,” or Joe Namath encouraging you to “get the health insurance you deserve,” we’re constantly being told that we’ve somehow merited some advantage or service. And we wonder why so many people possess an entitlement mentality.

To actually deserve something means you have a right to it, and there is injustice if you don’t get it. The very fabric of America asserts basic human rights because we are created by God: “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.”

However, the truth is that these God-given “rights” are really benefits of his great mercy, nobody owes you anything, and you actually deserve a far worse fate. Before a holy God, what we really deserve is judgment, death, and hell. This is not about getting good service or quality products. Certainly, whenever we pay for something there is an expectation of a fair return. I’m talking about thinking you deserve a beachfront condo when you really deserve an extended stay in a dank dungeon.

These God-given “rights” are really benefits of his great mercy

Men, we need to honestly admit to ourselves and others that we are undeserving of all the Lord’s benefits, and that anything we receive other than hell is only by the grace of God. The entitlement mentality starts when we remove God from the equation of our lives; we make ourselves God and believe we’re entitled to all the rights thereof. However, understanding God’s grace will lead us to a genuine sense of humility and gratitude. So, the next time you hear someone say you deserve something you’ve not worked nor asked for, remember what you really deserve.

Every “right” we have is really a benefit of His mercy and grace.