The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
I’m really struggling in my christian walk. I feel so unworthy of Gods love & like I don’t deserve to even be alive. I feel distant from God & totally stuck in this place where I don’t want to bother God or even my leaders at church cos I’m not worth the effort or time. I know God is loving and wants to set people free - but I only believe that it applys to other people - how can I learn/understand/believe in Gods love for me? Or any other advice or scriptures about it?
We’ve all been there. It’s a simple thing to get thrown out of whack on because the love of God is so unlike the rest of the world. So let’s lay this out clearly: you do not deserve God’s love, but He gives it to you anyway. No one deserves God’s love, He is holy and we are all of us sinful, but we can have it freely because our Sin was paid for. Romans 3:23-24 says: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” As for feeling like you shouldn’t even be alive, that is true too according to the Bible, but you are alive and you have eternal life. Romans 6:23 “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
You have gotten it into your head that being unworthy of God’s love is bad news. When in fact it is the starting point for the good news. Both those verses from Romans contain two factors: 1) we are not worthy of a relationship with God 2) we can have it anyway. The only thing better than getting something awesome is getting something awesome for free. In those verses there is a comma in the middle that links those two ideas, your problem is that you are getting stuck at the comma.
Here is the change you need to make. Right now you are saying “I feel unworthy to be loved by God because I am a big ole sinner.” You need to replace that period with a comma. So it should go: “I am unworthy to be loved by God because I am a big ole sinner, but God loves me even though I am a big ole sinner so I am going to go to church and sing like a person who is getting the best thing in the universe for absolutely free!”. And your friends are in the same boat, There are no levels of sinning. All have fallen short, but all also get the offer of being freely forgiven.
-Matt from The Bridge
Thank you for serving the Lord this way ^_^ My roommate and I recently had a disagreement. While we both agree that Christians are called to rebuke, we disagree on the motivation to seek the Lord. For me, after a hard semester, it’s because we love him and as we learn to love his holiness, we see the sin that clings so deeply to us and we learn to hate it as well. For her, it’s because of the punishment and the knowledge that the Lord will judge us. I believe both extremes are correct for different people and that the Lord has done both to draw people near him. God is both Judge and Love but ultimately, why do we obey him? Because I truly believe that even though God will judge us, he longs to walk with us too on that path of sanctification. How do we share the Gospel in a way that does not compromise either side of God?
A friend once told me “nobody comes to the cross out of fear”. That has stuck with me in all my years of Christianity and in ministry. The cross is the meeting of God’s love and justice, so I think it is the right place to look for our answer. The Romans attempted to use crucifixion as a punishment that inspired fear. The point of crucifixion was not only to put someone to death, but to do it in a way that say “this is what happens to people who step out of line, so behave”. The cross of Jesus however says “this is how much I love you, I am taking the punishment for you”. That is how the justice of God and the love of God are reconciled at the cross.
Scripture is clear about love’s supremacy. 1John says that perfect love casts out fear. Psalm 30 says that God’s anger lasts for a moment but His love is forever. 1 Corinthians 13 flat says “the greatest of these is love”. God is just, but that justice is part of his love, not a counterpoint to it. Jesus is clear about love too. He says to love your enemies, that he was here on Earth because of God’s love that sent him.Jesus’ summary of the law is all about love, love for God and love for your neighbor. If there is one thing that we can pull out of the gospel to communicate to others, it should be love.
Also, let me say a quick thing about “rebuking”. Christians are called to rebuke, but to do so in love and in the interest of building others up. We are not called to merely point out people’s flaws, and we are not called to rebuke non-believers. We can’t expect non-believers to behave like believers, and get mad at them when they don’t,that doesn’t make any sense. We are called to love people, and all of our actions should serve that, not judging.
-Matt from The Bridge
I am the undisputed master of The first of several steps,
It’s everything past the overture That keeps me stuck in check,
When it’s time to say how bad we are I’m the first in line to repent,
I’ll admit I’m evil Just give me the time and revival tent.
-Jed Brewer “The Easy Part is Hard” about the struggle to get past guilt to believe God loves us.
Luke 10:27 says to give your all to God, and to love your neighbour as yourself. Apparently I am dishonouring these two things. I HATE myself…. But does that mean I am fully incapable of loving others? Because I consider myself a loving person.
The exact quote (from the NIV) is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself”. That can sound like a big task, but look closer. It doesn’t say that you have to output a certain amount, just what you have. There are plenty of days that I don’t have very much strength or mind to give, and that’s ok with Jesus.
The context of this verse is that an expert in the law has asked Jesus what he has to do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus answered by asking him how he reads the law. Luke 10:27 is his response, which Jesus says is correct. Next the man asks who his neighbor is, which prompts Jesus to tell the parable of the good samaritan. Verse 29 says the reason the man asked that question because “he wanted to justify himself.” I think what that means is that this guy wanted an assignment, and a hard one. He was a smart guy, a religious guy and he felt like he was coming up short and he wanted Jesus to tell him the reason for that was that the task before him was so hard. So when the answer was so simple that he already knew it, it was startling.
The correct understanding of the gospel will set you free. It won’t always make you happy in the moment, or put a song in your heart, but it will set you free. So if something about the gospel is oppressing you, then there has been a misunderstanding or only a partial understanding. You seem to be of the assumption that you don’t feel good about yourself, so you don’t feel capable of loving others well enough, therefore you are failing God. Like I said earlier, you can’t fail God, because God doesn’t have a level you have to hit. Struggling with low self esteem does not mean you can’t love others. As a matter of fact serving others is a great way to start to feel better. Listening, helping, and serving will mean you are acting out Jesus’ command to give all you have.
Part of the problem seems to also be that it is easier to believe that God is mad at you than to be believe He is madly in love with you. You are not alone in that. In fact, our own Jed Brewer wrote a song about that struggle called “The Easy Part is Hard”, check it out.
-Matt from The Bridge
New Jed Brewer tune: The Easy Part is Hard.
“God loves you” is the most basic thing Christians hear, but sometimes it is a struggle to believe that. We don’t always feel that way, even thought we know it is true. The easiest part of our faith is often times the toughest. Jed wrote a song about that struggle.