When I was a child the list of human rights was fairly short. Obvious things made the list; shelter, food, access to basic education, the opportunity to work, and perhaps access to medical care. I can still remember intense discussions on the way things were changing the list; perhaps someday refrigerators would make the list!
Today many groups define the list of basic human rights on a totally different level. Is education enough? Why should it not include higher education? Is the opportunity to work better defined as the opportunity to have and keep a job that you enjoy for life? Shelter is more than protection from the elements. Shelter is the opportunity to life in comfort, heat in the winter, and cool in the summer while not imposing a burden on your lifestyle. Basic medical care takes on a detailed definition that include unlimited access to heart surgeries, maximum dental and orthodontia care, and, in some groups, inexpensive access to unlimited quantities of medicines. Everything of course applies regardless of economics, lifestyle and behavior choices, and personal values.
It is easy to forget where God fits in this mass of what people might deserve. When one looks at things it is as if things that originally were provided by our parents when we were defenseless are now our rights of citizens of this world. Shelter was space in our parent’s home. Education came from our relationship with the parents and the mentoring that was a part of life. Medical care was primarily compassion, prevention, and common sense. Even what was closest to us came as gifts.
The truth is that although “house and land are handed down from parents…a congenial spouse comes straight from God.” (Proverbs 19.15) A spouse that is our long term partner, friend, confidant, soul-mate, and person we trust without reservation is a rare gift, not a right or something we earned. Knowing the source opened me up to even greater gifts. Things like love, compassion, and unconditionally acceptance. No our right but an amazing gift from God to you and me.