My hands gripped the steering wheel, as the initial shock of the impact subsided. I watched a small crowd of curious bystanders gather on the sidewalk and heard a faint hissing sound from somewhere underneath my car. I was in a foreign country and had just been T-boned.
I’d maneuvered down this narrow lane hundreds of times. In a city of over two million residents, I had routinely chosen this road — barely wide enough to accommodate my small car — as my daily route. This former rice paddy trail afforded direct access to the international school where my daughters attended. Because it was one-way, this street remained less congested than others, an important factor considering the myriads of cars tangled in knots at other intersections.
At least I wasn’t the one who had run the stop sign. I had the right of way and had been driving the speed limit. It wasn’t my fault.
Or so I assumed.
A week or so later, we got the news: although both drivers had insurance, I would be responsible for my own repairs. The reasoning? It was 50% my fault. Why? “If the foreigner had been in her home country where she belonged, this wouldn’t have happened.”
I confess I was incensed. In fact, I expended weeks of emotional energy demanding privileges that were not actually mine by law. After I reluctantly paid the damages and my anger finally subsided, I realized that mandates from my home country weren’t a given in this adopted country. Foreigners living abroad did not always have the same rights as local residents.
Over twenty years after this incident, I’ve discovered there is only one passport whose legalities transcend all nationalities. Regarding of locale, holders of this citizenship have standardized legal sanctions. (What a relief to this bullheaded Texan!) Although I am a “stranger and alien” of this world, God has given His children rights to a Kingdom from which we cannot be shaken (Hebrews 11:13; John 1:12; Hebrews 12:28).
When I lived abroad, I wanted to exercise privileges I did not possess. If my rights were so important to me then, why do I not take advantage of the heavenly benefits afforded to me now? Why do I spend so little time familiarizing myself with my Kingdom rights?
The feisty widow in Jesus’ prayer parable knew her rights. “Give me legal protection from my opponent,” she demanded (Luke 18:3). Do I know what mine are?
Explore with me just a few of our Kingdom rights as children of the Most High.
- The right to draw near to He Who not only rules the Supreme Court, but Who is also our Father (Hebrews 10:22; Ephesians 3:12-14).
- The right to ask Him anything which is according to His Will and be assured delivery (1 John 5:14-15).
- The right to command even our most embarrassing and painful sin to leave us alone (Romans 6:14).
- The right to live without anxiety and fear (Luke 1:74-75).
- The right to live in peace despite our circumstances (we have peace with God, why not with ourselves? Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:14).
These and so many more rights are ours as we embrace our heavenly citizenship. In fact as we read through our Kingdom “constitution,” we find that “as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes!” (2 Corinthians 1:20) Why then do we squander so great a prerogative?
What rights will you claim today?