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.
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.
Black and Married with Kids
How To Make Sure You’re Not Working At Walmart When You’re 65: Are you saving for retirement?
The Porn Path (Powerful Message by Pastor Mark Driscoll): Some research here you should know about.
The Generous Wife
A Shared Week: Get o the same page at the start of the week.
Make Some Margin: This is a very important concept. I’ll post something on it eventually, but here’s a great start.
Beauty Shared: Take time to share beauty with your bride.
Happily Married After
Financial Records: Keep or Toss?: A nice round-up as we head for taxes.
Intimacy in Marriage
Journey to Surrender
What is the Culture of Your Marriage?: This is a MUST READ, very important.
Is Divorce Rate Booming for Boomers?: It is – and the why is a cautionary tale.
Reasons for Boomer Divorce Spike, and How to Prevent Late-Life Divorces: Part 2 of the above.
My Beloved Is Mine
Money Matters: It matters, and it kills marriages.
One Flesh Marriage
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.
Romantic Act of the Day
The Romantic Vineyard
Stupendous Marriage Show 038: Lori Lowe, Pornography and Love Languages: Quite the mix of topics!
…to Love Honor and Vacuum
Marital Success is a Matter of Attitude: Written from a woman’s POV, but very true and very important.