A gracEmail subscriber who grew up in a devoutly Christian home is convinced that he is not worth loving, not even by God. His head thinks that this negative opinion is untrue, but his heart cannot shake off its feeling of profound worthlessness. He asks for suggestions or advice.

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Jesus says that our enemy the devil is a liar and a thief (John 8:44; 10:10). In this case, the enemy has fed you a lie to steal your joy and confidence in Christ. At its core, the lie is that God’s love for you is based to any extent whatsoever on your worth or worthiness. The truth is found in Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14). Why not stop and read it now — before going any further (Luke 18:9-14).

The people who need to question their acceptance by God are the ones who approach him with a resume, intending to show why they are worthy of his love. But those who approach God confessing that they are unworthy of his love may be sure of two truths: (1) they indeed are not worthy; and (2) God loves them anyway, more than they will ever fully know.

I encourage you to read straight through the Gospel of John, highlighting every statement and promise made by Jesus concerning the person who believes in him. Trust what Jesus says (even if it is different from what you have been taught). Converse with him about it as you read, telling him your problems and your questions, your doubts and fears, your needs and your desires. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil, and he will be strong for you as you are under attack. You are accepted in the Beloved.