One of the big lies of our society is found in the self-esteem movement. It adheres to the idea that a person is good in themselves, that a person is enough on their own, and that people don’t need to change a thing in their lives, that people are perfect exactly as they are. That couldn’t be more false.
Before you get upset, understand that I’m not saying you shouldn’t be confident in who you are. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
A common misconception among people with good intentions is that people are worthy. That we, people, are worthy of love, worthy of God’s affection, that we are good enough to deserve something that good. You may argue with me, but think of it this way: if mankind were worthy of God’s love, that would take away from the power of the cross. It would take away from the goodness of God. The Cross would be this thing that people waited for because they deserved it. If people deserved God, that would mean he withheld that gift of salvation from people. It would mean that God was not providing for those to whom he promised provision until a certain point. God keeps all of his promises, never once has he failed to follow through.
Another problem with the “you are worthy” idea is original sin. Every man is born sinful. Psalm 51:5 tells us that we were born in sin. Conceived in sin. We were not sinful from birth, but from conception. Before we could do anything, we were sinful. And then we were born into the world, innocent in the eyes of people, deserving of hell without God. That’s the problem with it. We are not worthy. I understand how it may seem that way. We may be able to convince ourselves that we are somehow worthy of God’s love because Jesus died for us, but the fact that we are not worthy makes it all the better.
The Gospel is the idea that we were not good enough, not worthy, but God still took on human form. He lived among our filth and he was tortured, and all the wrath of God that we deserved he bore upon the cross. That’s the only thing we’re worthy of. A horrible, painful death. There’s nothing we deserve at all. But somehow, God wants to love us. God wants us. We do not deserve it in any capacity. This is the goodness of God.