With Valentine’s Day approaching, love is certainly “in the air”. We take this special day to celebrate the beauty of love. But have you ever felt unworthy of love? Especially of God’s love?
I’ve struggled with this question myself for years and once again, I was wrestling with it last night. What does it even mean to be worthy of God’s love?
So often I still see myself as an unlovable, dirty rotten sinner. I mean, come on, it’s true I am nothing compared to God, right? But yet, 1 John clearly states God first loved us. How can this be?
I once read a book that put forth a very interesting concept. The author called it “Worm Theology”, based off the old hymn by Issac Watts.
“Alas, and did my Savior bleed,
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?”.
As the author states, ” The problem is that a lot of times we confuse having a biblical understanding of sin with having an extremely low opinion of ourselves, and the two are not the same…The basic tenet of Worm Theology is that we must always look at ourselves in the worst possible light, and the favorite verse of Worm Theology is Jeremiah 7:9 (…the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked…)”. The author then continues, “Where…is the New Testament teaching that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all thing are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)?”
When I read this, a light bulb went off in my head. When God gave me faith to believe, He did heart surgery! He gave me a new heart, with new desires! God also washed and clothed me in his righteousness! This means when my Father sees me, he sees his Son and all his righteousness! Good news indeed, and most certainly a case for being lovable as an adopted child of Christ.
But what about BEFORE adoption? Did God love me before he declared me righteous? I now believe so, for two simple reasons.
First and foremost, God is God. He said it in his Word, “Aren’t you more precious to me than the sparrows?” There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love — it’s not based off our merit. He loves us because he IS love — it’s his very character.
God’s love isn’t based off the object of his love, but the character of his love.
Second, ALL humans are a part of creation, and when God created man, he said it was good. This includes me! Humans have an inherent worth because they are created in the image of God. God certainly loved the Garden of Eden and Adam in Eve in it. If God loved them, then he certainly loves humans now, because God doesn’t change! Sin did create a separation between us and God. It didn’t make him loves us any less, however, it just prevented us from having an intimate relationship with him. That’s why He sent his Son — to repair that separation and be able to have a relationship with those he already loved!
But here’s the picture that really solidified things for me. Imagine a couple going to an orphanage to look at children to adopt. The orphanage directors bring a child to the couple and the couple instantly fall in love. Would you say that child is a dirty wretch and unworthy of love? NO! That child is a human being; and all human beings are worthy of love because they are created in God’s image.
What even better news? This picture is what God does for us! John 6:37 says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” For me, this means God went through that orphanage full of lovable children and picked a very broken scared little girl and he brought her to his Son Jesus, and Jesus instantly scooped her up into his arms and adopted her. THAT’S what I call LOVE!
So celebrate! Be free! God is saying to you, “You are WORTHY of love, my daughter! You are precious to me. You have value. And because of this, you are worthy of other people’s love, too. Love those around you, yes, but also surround yourself with people that love you for who you are, too — because you are worth it!”