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Utterly Unworthy, But . . .

When you think of yourself, what goes through your mind first and foremost?


Most will tell you having a healthy self-image is essential, and they encourage self-love and positive self-esteem.


Admittedly, being upbeat is better than being down on yourself and a sad, miserable, blue Eeyore. Self-hatred isn’t good or godly.


As someone once said, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”


However, when it comes to God and our relationship with Him, functioning with an entitlement mentality isn’t good either; it’s unhealthy and unholy.


God doesn’t owe me anything because I think I’m amazing and adorable. I owe Him everything. On my best day, I can’t demand any goodness or blessing from God based on my performance.


There’s never been a moment when I could justifiably say to God, “Hey, time to pay up, I deserve more because I’ve earned it!”


Nope. Not. One. Moment.


The Apostle Paul understood human depravity and wrote that we all have sinned. All.


Isaiah was quite graphic when he wrote that all our righteousness is like filthy rags (i.e., menstrual rags).


Of course, doing good is . . . well . . . good.


Being Christlike is always the goal. Never wallow in your wickedness.


And whatever blessings we experience, including the gift of salvation, are all because of Abba’s mercy, not our good behavior.


I understand this is like Christianity 101 and not so profound, but please give me just a few more minutes.


I want you to consider the “so what?” (i.e., application).


If we are all unworthy of whatever gift(s) we have from our Father, and if we are never going to be perfect on this side of eternity, then why are we so hard on others when they let us down?


Most Christians readily admit they can’t earn and don’t deserve God’s favor (we call that grace), and we are grateful we don’t experience His deserved wrath (we call that mercy).


Yet, some of us sometimes treat others with disgust when their sins are more evident or their failures more seemingly fatal than ours.


We quickly dismiss people who fail us and hold others to a different standard of acceptance than we do ourselves. In other words, we want to be loved no matter what, but too often, we fail to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”


The problem: We forget how utterly unworthy we are to be called a child of God and how undeserving we are of His mercy and grace.


What’s worse, we rationalize our poor treatment of others with statements like . . .


I would never do what they did!


They deserve the consequences of their sins and horrible choices!


I’m not sure they’re even saved anymore!


Okay, just for clarification.


Maybe you wouldn’t fail in the same way. Without a doubt, they probably do deserve to bear the fruit of their foolishness. And they might not act very “saved” right now.


And yes, there is a time and place for extraordinarily humble and gentle confrontation as we hold one another accountable.


But . . .


Not one of us ever gets to pull the “I’ve-got-it-all-together” card.


None of us ever has a right to turn our back on and reject a fallen brother or sister.


Not one of us is ever beyond a desperate need for the ongoing grace and mercy of Jesus.


We are all broken, in process, and still becoming who we are in Christ. We are all utterly unworthy of Abba’s affection.


But incredibly, He is always (and I do mean always) very fond of us no matter what.


So, perhaps, we can do better at loving one another as we are loved.


For the record, being utterly unworthy doesn’t mean you are utterly worthless. You mean everything and are precious to Jesus. You are always incredibly valuable to Him.


And here’s why this all matters.


Maybe a watching world would be drawn to us like sinners were attracted to Jesus if we stopped beating up those already bruised and bloody because of sin.


Imagine what would happen if we saw and treated everyone as priceless gifts not based on their performance but because they are humans created in the image of God.


It’s been said that the gospel (i.e., good news) is “one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”


I think living out the gospel is “one screw-up telling another screw-up that’s it’s okay to be a mess at times because we all are far from perfect and loved nonetheless.”


Let the world say of us, “See how they love one another.” And our love is never more deeply demonstrated than when we are kind and gracious toward someone who has deeply hurt us.


“People will know you as a genuine Christ-follower

if you will decide in advance to love others

and demonstrate agape love no matter what.”

John 13:35 (BPV)



Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.