So today I’m going to address a question that a lot of people don’t really like to face… I know that doesn’t really narrow it down, I’m gonna ask “do we ever feel worthy?”
Worthiness is defined as being deserving of effort, attention, and/or respect.
There is so much to unpack in a 6-letter word: W-O-R-T-H-Y. It seems to me that there are a couple different questions: are we worthy? can we feel worthy? how do we know when we’re not worthy? is it possible to not be worthy? Well, lemme break something to you: you are and you aren’t. You are worthy, because you are a living creature of God. You are worthy of love and safety and peace. You are worthy. But you also aren’t worthy, you will never deserve the attention that God gives to you, that’s kinda why its called grace, because you aren’t worthy, but I mean think about it- isn’t the idea of having a God that is so beyond comprehension that you can’t even begin to think of what it would take to be deserving of its attention- isn’t it kind of compelling? Do you really want a God where worthiness is an obtainable goal? Okay, I can see why that might also be compelling but its also dangerous- what would you do after you reach the goal?
So we are worthy and we aren’t- which is probably why its hard to feel worthy sometimes. To feel is to experience, and part of us is constantly seeking that experience that is unobtainable. There is also a sad reality that many people are taught from a young age that they aren’t worthy. They aren’t given the other side of the story that there are ways to be worthy. These people are taught sometimes in very overt ways through overt abuse, others are taught more sub-consciously- little things are internalized until the conclusion finally hits home, that they can’t be worthy. To feel is to experience but its also to be aware, these sub-conscious lessons can’t really be successful until they become conscious.
Our society (the capitalist, Westernized dream) teaches us that worthiness is earned, and fair enough- in a lot of cases it is. But what about inherent worth? Technical rationality would have us treating each other as means to an end instead of ends-of-ourselves. We have inherent worth, power does not define our worth as humans- our existence does. When people say that “someone will be worthy of your love”- what do they mean? Is love earned? or “never tell the truth to people who are not worthy”- is trust earned? What if I told you that both those phrases and others like them are actually perpetuating a self-involved culture? What if I told you that while you can give a person reason not to trust you, or even not to love you; that you cannot take away a person’s worth, nor can you lose your own. “You are infinitely worthy, and unconditionally loved” — now that’s a phrase I can stand by. Give me a scenario- I’ll tell you why they’re worthy.
Can we feel worthy? It’s hard but its also possible. Are we worthy? Yes- straight up Hallelujah! Can we be unworthy? No- we can’t.
*RECORD SCRATCH SOUND*
Wait Wait Wait… I thought you said that we will forever be unworthy of God. I did, but here’s what I meant. You can’t be worthy of God because it is God who doles out worthiness. God gave you your worth, your worth is because of God… before you were worthy, God deemed you worthy to give worth to. Make sense?
I have felt unworthy many times in my life. Unworthy to pursue my calling, unworthy to stand up for something (because I’d be called a hypocrite in other areas), unworthy to be asked my opinion in class, unworthy to be respected, unworthy to be accepted, unworthy in so many ways. But here’s the thing- just because I felt unworthy, doesn’t mean I actually was. I was worthy the whole time, and my worth did not hinge on anything- you name it- anything.
You are worthy, but it’s not actually about you. Us being worthy is way to realize that everyone else is too- even the people who have hurt you. You are worthy- and they are worthy. If you ever feel unworthy remember: we’ve all been there- we really do understand, you’ll get through this feeling, seek that feeling of worth- it is called seeking truth.