Rights

<<valid claims, entitlements>>

1/. Human and civil rights

Human rights are the universal, fundamental necessities required to sustain life and include the right to life, water, food, and shelter, while civil rights are the liberties that one obtains through being a legal citizen of a particular political entity or country. While there are overlaps between these two categories both are fundamental freedoms that should be the norm for all individuals, allowing them to be free from unfair treatment or discrimination on grounds of race, gender, age, religion, political affiliation, cultural background, social standing or any other distinguishing factors.

However, the world’s value system is largely self-focused – ‘it’s all about me, myself and I’ and strongly defends self-preservation.  It is desirable for every citizen to be more outward-focused, looking out for the good of others, combating human rights abuse and promoting the welfare of other people, then life would be enriched for all. Especially as Christians, we are not to show bias but be accepting of all people, regardless of cultural and socio-economic differences for all humanity has been made in God’s image (Gen 1:26,27; Mt 7:12; Act 10:34; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11; Jas 2:1-4).

Many people are so focused on their rights, or what they think is due them, that they neglect their responsibilities, be it in a working environment, marriage, or to God. We should be more concerned about doing our duty, by meeting our responsibilities, rather than ‘policing’ other people’s actions. It

Rights imply responsibilities as for every                   right there is a parallel responsibility

is selfish to consider things only from our point of view.  Be generous, outgoing and go beyond what is expected (Mt 5:39-42).  A position of authority or power is not a privilege to be flaunted, rather an opportunity to be of service to God by serving for the benefit of mankind, doing as you would want done to you (Mt 25:40; Lk 6:31). 

Increasingly in our world protests are a tool employed to enact change or get the attention of authority but Christians need to ask themselves if this is always the best approach. Conflict and aggression result when we expect our rights to be met while violating those of another.

In response to the worldwide Covid pandemic several countries implemented harsh and ruthless mandates especially against those who refused or resisted the vaccine. Rather than allowing individuals to make their own informed choice about their body and health undue and illogical pressure is increasingly being applied, dictating the 'required course of action' that they demand.  This gross violation highlights it is not so much about health but a control issue, stemming from the one world government/new world order agenda to bring everyone under their domination. Restrictions and fear have crippled people bringing many into bondage to believe the manipulating rhetoric that is feed to them from mainstream media. As believers we should be discerning, not blindly accepting or doing everything that society require. Our allegiance first and foremost is to God.

2/. Christian rights

Our primary Christian right is to be called a child of God, something promised to us when we become a Christian with the right to enter into heaven at the end of time provided we have walked in His ways (Mt 7:21; Jn 1:12, 3:3,16,36, Jn 14:2,3).

As the Son of God, Jesus had the right to be ‘seated at the right-hand of God’ but He relinquished this in the interests of redeeming humanity from their perilous state. As Christians, we should follow His example of being totally other-focused. “He did not come to be served but to serve” or minister to mankind by laying aside His rights so He could bring salvation and give us the full benefits of God’s adopted sons (Mt 20:28; Gal 4:5; Phil 2:5-11). So we identify with Christ in His death, setting aside our past self-centred lives (Col 2:20, 3:3).

Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. The example of Christ shows us that the responsibility of meeting the needs of others, doing for them what we would want done for us, should be more important than fulfilling our rights. Being focused on ourselves shows immaturity (Phil 2:4). Do I voluntarily give up my personal privileges and position, including the recognition by others, choosing 

Focus on your responsibility,                       not your rights

instead to serve people, putting up with inconveniences and injustices rather than causing another to stumble or hinder the gospel (Rom 14:21; 1 Cor 6:12, 9:4-27; Heb 10:34).

At conversion we surrendered our desires and aspirations to our new Lord and Master, Jesus Christ – it is “Not my will, but yours be done” (Mt 26:39,42). We are called to take up our cross and follow Him and, in a sense we have no rights – in reality we are His bondservants and consider our life poured out for a higher good than personal comfort (Mt 16:24; Rom 6:16,22; 1 Cor 6:19,20; Phil 2:17; 2 Tim 4:6). 

3/. Rights and privileges

Privileges indicate an advantage or favour granted to a particular person or group of people, but not to everybody, in respect of a role or service they perform – a selective right rather than a universal one. It is very easy to misuse a privilege through pride or abuse of the power granted. Christians need to be very mindful that they serve others with genuine concern and humility. While we may appear to have few visible earthly privileges, in the next we will have the immense privilege to share His eternal glory (Jn 14:1-3).

4/. Animal rights

While animals are a lower form of creation than humanity, they still should be treated humanely as they too have desires and needs, for they are not unfeeling property. As such they should not be mistreated or subjected to unnecessary pain and hardship, although they are given for our benefit. They should be provided with the necessities of life – food, water and shelter. “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animals” (Prov 12:10; Mt 12:11). Having pets may be a useful way to teach children about their rights and responsibilities.

See also: abuse, cruelty, critical race theory, democracy, discrimination, equality, favouritism, golden rule, humanitarian, inhumane, justice, new world order, privileges, protests, race/racism, responsible/responsibilities, self, selfishness, submission.

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