If you went to Sunday School, you probably learned a verse from the Bible that says “all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). It’s a wonderful verse, and it’s true. We have sinned and broken God’s laws. In that sense, we are all unworthy of His love and attention. But it doesn’t mean we are worthless or unworthy. You and I are valued by God and loved by Him, and we can be redeemed when we put our trust in Jesus as Saviour. This is the hope we were given when Jesus died on the cross for our sins.
Sometimes we feel we’re very unworthy as people and deserve God’s punishment. I read of a successful business man who looked back on his life with deep regret and said “I made choices that were clearly wrong. Now, as I look at what I have become, I can no longer live with myself. I hate who I am. I am emotionally running, but I do not know where to go”. In his honest statement, he was saying what I believe a lot of people are saying – “I am not worthy”.
The problem is that, to some extent, we have all made morally wrong choices. But God’s grace is amazing. Once we have repented and turned our lives over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and received His forgiveness, we are both fully accepted and loved unconditionally.
It doesn’t mean we are suddenly perfect, but as we go on with our lives and sometimes struggle with right and wrong, God begins His work of healing in our soul. And more importantly, we are fully valued as people. God does not look at us regarding how successful we are, only that we are His child, and fully given over to Him. We are not measured in His sight by our successes or our failures.
I’m talking today about God’s grace – that is, His undeserved goodness given to us in Christ. It’s nothing we can boast about or gloat over. It’s not ours in the first place. It’s given freely by the gracious hand of God to us who don’t deserve it.
It’s like the true story of Russell McGuiness who at age 11 began committing professional robberies. He had problems growing up in his family and felt he had nothing to live for and says he only ventured into crime to get attention. He was good at stealing, and it gave him the admiration of his mates but got him into a lot of trouble.
In the 1970’s he was on the police’s most wanted burglar’s list. But he went to live with a Christian couple whose godly influence was very obvious because Russell was baptised in 1985 and converted to Jesus Christ. His life was totally transformed, and he joined YWAM (Youth with a Mission). But things were still not right.
Listen to what he said – “I did a lot of church stuff because I still needed approval and recognition and the desire to be loved”. Another change in his life came in 1997 when Russell realised he had a Heavenly Father who offered him grace. He said – “I had a revelation of God’s acceptance of me, just as me. It enveloped my whole being. I didn’t need to earn God’s love or approval”.
This is a fascinating topic, one that requires a good balance. It compels us to be realistic about ourselves and our weakness, yet relying on the goodness and grace of Jesus Christ. We don’t need to put ourselves down because He made us as we are. You are unique in this world, and God has made you for a purpose. But at the same time, let’s not get caught up thinking we are better than others.
I came across this verse in Romans 12:3 – “I tell each of you not to think you are better than you are. Use good sense, and measure yourself by the amount of faith God has given you”.
The Living Bible says “Be honest in your estimate of yourselves”. After all, God designed the human body so that we can neither pat our own back nor kick ourselves too easily if you know what I mean! But He has given us talents to use for Him and other people, and we need to work on that. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to do His transforming work in our character.
Galatians 5:22 says “God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled”. And it was Peter who said in his epistle “Let the kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing” (2 Peter 3:18).