God says you have worth and value.

March 25, 2012

in Change, Links to good stuff, Series

Worm © Xunbin Pan | Dreamstime.com

This is NOT how God sees you!

In As a man thinks …  and Are you worthy of love and belonging? I said something about our worth and value. As I expected, I got a couple of emails along the lines of “we are nothing but sinners saved by grace”. I agree with that statement only if the words “nothing but” are removed. I am not going to say we are anything in and of ourselves – indeed, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” [Ro 3:23 ESV]. Thing is, that is not the end of the story for those who have accepted Jesus as Lord. Later in Roman’s we read, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” [Ro 8:1 ESV] Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [2 Cor 5:17]

A good way to explain this is the Parable of the prodigal son. The son felt as many Christians do, dirty, without value, forever unworthy. He was hoping to be a servant for his father, but felt he did not deserve even that. His father had other thoughts. “My son who was dead is alive!” Dad said to put a robe on him, put a ring on his finger, and to have a feast to celebrate. 

How would the father have felt if his son had refused the robe, the ring, and the feast? How would dad have felt if the son said “I am nothing but a worm” and had gone to find a place to stay with the servants? This have been a slap in the face! Jesus used this parable to explain how God sees us; He sees something in us He loves. He rejoices when we return to Him. He wants to give us good things and have a celebration. I fear many of us slap God in the face because we have been taught a false gospel of self-abasement and works.

God says I have worth and value. I have worth and value because God says I do. It’s that simple. 

I see this as a major issue. The worm saved by grace but still unworthy message is not the Gospel, and the Bible warns us to flee from any “other gospel”. This gospel is a lie, and it no doubt comes from the place from which all lies come. This lie is it makes us ineffective. Christians who buy into it are not the joy-filled followers of Christ who drew people to Jesus in the early church. No one wants to be with, much less like, those who think they are unworthy scum. 

This message of lack of worth and value also plays into our marriages. We put up with things no one should put up with because we do not “deserve” better. We do not ask for better, because we do not deserve it. We treat our spouse badly because they do not deserve better.

My Bible says we are commanded to treat each other well, and that includes our spouse. I am supposed to treat my bride as well as, even better than, I treat myself. If I am an unworthy worm deserving of the worse treatment possible, I can’t treat her as God wants me to. She has worth, and she does deserve the best – God says so.

Follow Up: Based on a couple of emails I want to reiterate my warning you need to be very open with your bride as either of you work on finding who God made you to be. This can be a scary process, to watch your spouse change before your eyes. If you are following God, your bride should benefit… unless she benefits from you being broken. If you were a pushover and she got whatever she wanted, your learning to stand up for yourself won’t make her happy. If she just wants someone she can control, you may not be able to both get healthy and stay married. However, if your bride is reasonable and you keep her in the loop you should be okay.

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Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:

 

New blog this week – My Beloved Is Mine. New friends with a new blog.

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Beauty Shared: Take time to share beauty with your bride.


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Is Crappy Sexual Intimacy Your Normal?: Don’t let habit make your sex life crappy!


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Reasons for Boomer Divorce Spike, and How to Prevent Late-Life Divorces: Part 2 of the above.


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A Story of Zing 1 & Zing 2: Those sexual things you want but don’t do. Are they good, or bad? What should you do about them?
Zing 1 & Zing 2 in the Bedroom: Her thoughts on the above.
Marriage: Mission Possible – I Wish HE Would Change: The most important thing Kate has learned about marriage. This post, and the next one, set up a week of guest posts on the question “If there was only one thing from the story of your marriage that you could share, what would it be? What lesson learned, revelation, heart change or profound moment is a testament to God’s plan for marriage? ”
I Comes After U: Brad’s on thing.


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3 comments
Tony
Tony

I think the scripture that captures it best is that our righteousness is but filthy rags (a paraphrase.) Now that doesn't mean WE are worthless. But what is worthless, relative to God are our definitions of righteousness. As was suggested above, rebellious pride.

Lyndon Unger
Lyndon Unger

Well, I like the sentiment and I appreciate the attempt to balance out "worm" theology, but I definitely have questions about your use of scripture. In Luke 15:18-19, the son's plan is to go home and say "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants." Then in 15:21 he does, but the father simply ignores him and celebrates his return. The father's celebration of the son doesn't depend on the son's reception of it. With regards to your marriage application, I would suggest that if my wife treats me horribly, it's not wrong because I deserve better. It's wrong because she's disobeying the Lord when he tells her how she should treat me; it's wrong because it's sin. My worth doesn't factor into her treatment of me; she loves me (and everyone else) as an expression of her love for Christ (Eph. 5:1-2). You also said "if I am an unworthy worm deserving of the worse treatment possible, I can’t treat her as God wants me to." Really? How does that logically follow? Why does the treatment you endure (regardless of what you think you deserve) necessarily affect the treatment you deliver? I dare say that this reveals confusion on the nature of Christian love; Christians are to love others regardless of how they're treated, and this never is in relation to how one treats oneself or views oneself. Read Eph. 5:28-29; nobody actually hates themselves. The problem is that all sinners love themselves silly, including the ones that use worm theology as an excuse to not do what the Lord commands. Worm theology is just the flip side of the coin of rebellious pride. Worm theology is obsessed with self and is a manifestation of a wickedly unloving and rebellious heart. People with worm theology don't need self-esteem. People with worm theology need to repent of their idolatry, stop worshiping themselves, and start worshiping Christ by submitting to his truth and obeying his commands.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

Lyndon Unger - Great discussion, thanks. I agree the father's offer is not dependent on the son, but he could have walked away, or he could have accepted it and questioned it every day for the rest of his life. Or he could have accepted it as the gift it was and lived in it. We have the same choices - reject, accept but live in doubt and fear, or hear the heart of the Father and live as He sees us. I agree that horrible treatment of a spouse is wrong, but I've seen a lot of women and a few men who put up with it because they think they "deserve it". That thinking is also wrong, and harmful to them, their marriage, their children, and the marriage analogy the Lord uses to describe his relationship with us. This is the mindset of virtually every battered woman out there. On your third comment, how we treat others is an outgrowth of how we see ourselves. Various twists and turns of the mind will make that different for various folks, but I think self image is fundamental to how we see and treat others. A wrong understanding of ourself means we can't relate to others as we should. If I don't deserve good, then on some level I probably think no one else does either. I agree with you on the roots of worm theology, but what about those who hold it because it's what they were taught? It's the "gospel" they know, and they follow it because they are trying to be right with God. They serve a lie, but don't KNOW it's a lie. They may need to repent,but they can't do that if they don't see the truth. You are right that self-esteem is not the solution, but a change in self perception is a result of the change that is needed. Thanks again. BTW, love the avatar - it's right on so many levels!

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