by Raina So
The concept of “WORTH” carries quite a weight in everyone’s life, regardless of cultural background—though perspectives on how one is deemed worthy may vary. Additionally, as more people become familiar with psychological terms and concepts nowadays, worth has become even more of a popular topic to examine and discuss.
When we look at symptoms of clinical depression, for example, one of the qualifying symptoms is a feeling of worthlessness on a nearly daily basis. This has made the pursuit to establish one’s self-worth a central assignment in the field of psychology. As a clinical therapist, I am absolutely thankful for all the wonderful tools and insights we can access in the psychology field, but as a Christian, there is more to consider.
Even as Christians, it is very common to encourage each other with statements like “You are worthy of love.” It could be a lovely reminder. However, Romans 3:10-12 (NIV) says that “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become WORTHLESS; there is no one who does good, not even one.” In reading this, where are we supposed to find worth, then? Isn’t God supposed to be the One who speaks worth over us?
Perhaps our “worth” was not the big shot we thought it was. What if worth was not necessarily what we were supposed to chase after for ourselves? Honest truth is that many of us strive and long to feel worthy/enough for someone or something – relationships, career, parenting, recognition, beauty, and the list goes on. When the worth seems unachievable, it can feel unmotivating, purposeless, and even depressing.
Everyone wants to feel worthy and valuable, but what if the realization of being worthless was actually meant to open the door to the true worth of salvation through the cross? Here is the thing. Imagine if we completely deserved the salvation, mercy, and grace we receive through Jesus. This would remove any need to be thankful for them. On the other hand, when we receive what we do not deserve and are not worthy of, overflowing thankfulness is what naturally follows.
In John 15:15 (NIV), Jesus tells His disciples “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.” Why is this verse so significant? It can only be significant when we understand that we do not deserve friendship with Jesus, no matter what. Can you imagine hearing this as someone who thought the closest relational status you could possibly have with Jesus was to be His servant? Now Jesus is telling you that you are His friend and He revealed all His secrets to you.
Psalm 139 should be the response that this revelation stirs up in our hearts. In verses 1-5, David speaks of how intimately the Lord knows and sees him in every detail. In verse 6 he says “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (NIV). Understanding that we are unworthy to receive anything from the Lord becomes a critical key to the floodgate of thankfulness for being known, seen, and loved by Him.
I am sure this is relatable; there is literally no one I have met in my whole life that does not have any personal hurts or wounds. In fact, these wounds are many times what drive us into a frantic search for worth and self-protection in anywhere/anybody available. But what would it look like if Christians didn’t only navigate but also welcome feelings of inadequacy? By welcoming it, the truth that God sent His Son to save us when we were undeserving sinners will fill us with awe of His great love for us.
If we stop our fight against feeling worthless, it can very well be an invitation for a deeper revelation of how tremendous and valuable God’s grace and mercy are. As a result, our lips may be filled with more gratitude, joyful praise, and encouragement—with less self-defense, complaints, and comparison.
Instead of trying to tell ourselves “I am worthy of love,” we can remember that God chose to love and pursue us beyond any imaginable measure while we were completely unworthy of Him. In this, we can find great encouragement.
Raina So is a wife and mom with a toddler. After some years in ministry with her husband in Arizona and California, she pursued a marriage and family therapy degree and is now a clinical therapist. Her “super weapons” are to enjoy people, give listening ears, and bring deep