A Dangerous Religious Presumption

A Dangerous Religious Presumption

There is a religious assumption that each of us is worthy of God’s love, even though some of us tragically think so little of ourselves that we struggle to have any morsel of self-worth.

But this view is more therapeutic than true.

No, we are not worthy of God’s favor.

The self-respecting Pharisee thanked God he was not like others, even that compromised, broken tax collector praying close by who couldn’t lift his head up to God. He had no doubts about his own worthiness to receive God’s favor. Low self image would never be his problem.

Yet Jesus said that the crushed, lamenting tax collector went home to his house justified rather than the other — that one who said, “Lord, be merciful to me the sinner” — that one with no self-esteem.

The purpose of Christ’s coming was not to build self-esteem, but to redeem sinful men who have NOTHING to be proud of. Christ came for the sick, not the proverbial “well.” If you are worthy, it isn’t mercy.

Then, strangely, those otherwise worthless people who have a correct view of mercy obtain an uncommon confidence among others based on the worthiness of Christ who dwells in them. The weak are made strong, “in the strength of his might.”