One of the insidious things about entitlement is the hindrance of character development. In Character Counts, Os Guinness says that “character is clearly distinct from such concepts as personality, image, reputation, (style), or celebrity. It is….the inner reality and quality in which thoughts, speech, decision, behavior, and relations are rooted. As such, character determines behavior just as behavior demonstrates character." (page 12).
I firmly believe that deep, real character comes only through experiencing hardship. A life free from difficult times or suffering robs people of teachable moments that help build authentic character. I have seen this borne out time and time again - not only in my life, but my friends’ and kids’ lives too.
When difficulties come into your life, the depth of your character will determine whether you “sink” or “swim.” When I say “sink,” I mean failing to learn from suffering. To cope, these people will do a number of things, such as throw a fit, rebel, flee, or are paralyzed from functioning in life. “Sinkers” are recognized by symptoms such as: incessant grumbling, infantile fits, denial and avoidance. Those who “swim,” however, recognize pain as a golden opportunity to grow in character. “Swimmers” are those who are still affected by the pain, but they talk about it, allow God to do his work in transforming them, open the door to be transparent with people, listen to input, and learn to look beyond themselves while the hardship is happening.
There are many character traits that can be affected by entitlement issues:
To understand how specific character traits above are affected by entitlement, just click on the trait listed in the chart. Also, the bible has something to say about character as well. For the biblical perspective on character, click here.