Privilege is a blessing

If you are angry that someone is grateful for the good things in his life, you should probably calm down. It is not “unfair” to be grateful, and it is not an putdown of those who do not have what you have. Some people sneer that someone who says he is blessed is actually privileged. But if you have privilege, go ahead and consider that a blessing, because that is what it is.

Privilege has become a dirty word, though it should not be. Instead of sneering at privilege, we should want to expand that privilege as far as possible. Instead of sneering at white people who are not viewed with suspicion while blacks are followed in a store, work to extend that privilege to blacks. Instead of sneering at someone who is born into a middle class family with involved parents, try to expand that “privilege” by educating people about the benefits of staying in school and not having illegitimate children.

One of the primary objections seems to be the theological implications of being “blessed.” Are people who claim they are “blessed” saying they have special favor from God, or that they “deserve” divine blessing? Not necessarily, and it is often used in a secular context. We can be blessed by many things, including the counsel of a good friend, the affection of a pet, or our own natural talents. When I see this word used on social media, it is almost always people saying they have blessings in their lives they do not deserve, and are thankful for those blessings. So why would anyone be offended by that?

The answer is simple: Taking offense at the blessings of others is rooted in envy and dissatisfaction with one’s own life. Envy is a vicious master, and it leads to resentment followed by bitterness. This is a terrible way to live, and it is a prison you built for yourself.