“Accepting God's Value for Us”Categories: M. W. Bassford, Meditations
The other day, I received a Facebook message from a Christian that said in part, “Possible idea for article.. addressing self hate when you’re a Christian. When you feel you’re not worthy of love, it can be hard to accept that God loves you and you’re not all the awful things you tell yourself in your mind, but also you want to have a healthy balance of self awareness and not being *too easy on yourself??”
To start with, let me say that receiving this message from this kind of Christian is both shocking and predictable. Even judging by human standards, the author (whom I will not identify) has a lot going for them. No one who knows them would assess them as being the least bit deficient in either gifts or godliness.
However, it’s often people like that, top-tier Christians who are well loved, who paradoxically struggle the most with feelings of being unlovable. Indeed, their life of good works is commonly the result of a doomed attempt to prove that they are worthy. Their inevitable failure to do everything perfectly becomes yet another source of guilt and self-loathing.
Not that I would ever struggle with this myself, of course.
To such a person, the grace of God, properly understood, ought to become the most precious thing imaginable. In Christ, we don’t have to do anything to prove ourselves to be worthy of love. Instead, it is Christ Himself who has proved that we are worthy by dying for each of us.
His lifeblood is a thing of infinite value, and as any mathematician will tell you, infinity divided by any finite number remains infinite. The tiniest portion of Christ’s blood, applied or even potentially applied to us, declares each of us to be a being of infinite worth.
Nor should we think that God overpaid. In His infinite wisdom, He did not put a price on us that was more than we were worth. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and His assessment must be right. When He priced us at the cost of the precious blood of Jesus, He merely revealed the intrinsic value that every human soul had held since the beginning.
This is true for me. It’s true for my correspondent. It’s true for every human being that ever has existed. None of us can do anything to prove that we are worthy of love. All of us are worthy simply because of who we are. No matter how greatly we sin, no matter how deeply we defile ourselves, no matter what anyone else does to us, we remain beings created in the image and likeness of God. We remain beings whom the Son of God was willing to redeem with the payment of His mortal anguish.
Of course we should strive to serve. Of course we should strive to be holy. However, we should not think that doing so must or even can add to our value in any way. That’s both unnecessary and impossible. Instead, we obey because we are moved by joy and gratitude for what we have received, for the One who has shown us who we truly are and has done so incomprehensibly much for us.