Feeling Unworthy of God’s Love? Your Past Doesn’t Determine Your Worth

If you don’t feel worthy of God try to remember that your past doesn’t determine how valuable you are to him.

Today, I want to talk about the belief that says, I am not worthy of God’s blessings because of my past mistakes. This lie attacks how you view yourself. It says that somehow because you make mistakes or might have something sinful in your past you’re disqualified from God’s goodness. 

Let’s talk about one of my favorite passages of scripture of all times, and it is the woman at the well or the Samaritan woman in John 4.  What you see when this passage begins is that Jesus and the disciples are on a journey and Jesus decides to go out of his way, through Samaria to get to their destination. 

They could have gotten there a lot shorter if he went another way, but he proposes in his heart to meet this woman who’s going to come to the well. He sits down by the well to wait. Side note, this is also the same location as Jacob’s well that you find in the Old Testament.

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Jesus sends the disciples away into town to get supplies and food so he is alone when this Samaritan woman comes to the well. Every day women would go out to the well and get what they needed for the day, for cooking, for cleaning, for whatever they needed. They would go and get their supply of water. 

This woman in particular is going in the heat of the day. No other women are out there. They’ve already gotten what they needed and gone home. She’s out here all alone in the hottest part of the day and she’s a Samaritan. When she gets to this well and sees Jesus, he asks her for a drink of water.

Now, this is amazing for a lot of reasons. Back then men didn’t approach strange women like that. Plus he’s a Jew and she’s a Samaritan. They did not get along. This is a conversation that culturally speaking should not happen. 

But remember what I said, Jesus goes out of his way to be in this exact spot at this exact moment. And what you will find as you read through is that Jesus speaks truth to this woman. He speaks so much truth to her about herself, her sins, and her struggles that in the end she’s fully convinced that he is the Messiah.

I love the end of her story. In John 4:29, she says, “come see a man who told me all that I ever did.” This woman who was full of shame for various reasons goes back and evangelizes her entire town. She cannot shut up about the Messiah. She must tell everybody that she sees about the Jesus that she just met. 

So if you back up just a little bit, I want to zoom in on a teeny part of this conversation. We’ve already established that she is gathering water by herself and she’s there when no other women are there. If there’s a pecking order, she’s probably at the bottom. 

Jesus says to her in verse 16, go call your husband and come back. And the woman answered him, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, you are right in saying I have no husband, for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 

This is very important to understand. She is not somebody who would’ve been considered to be righteous or noble or virtuous in any way. The fact that she has had five husbands and she’s not married to the man she’s with now tells a few things about her. 

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Women at this time weren’t allowed to own property. They depended on their husband as a way to have security and safety and to be taken care of. The fact that she’s had five husbands could mean that she was barren. And her husbands kept divorcing her for that reason. 

There is some hurt, some pain, and some poor choices at best in this woman’s life. Jesus speaks straight to this about her. This is probably why she’s not gathering water with the other women. She’s probably the focus of gossip, looks, whispers, and stares. And she doesn’t want to experience that. 

She’s just trying to go through her life being unnoticed. And Jesus sees her and he acknowledges this truth about her. He sees right to the ugly part of her that I’m sure she wishes, that nobody ever saw. And he speaks truth to her and he lets her know, listen, I know exactly who you are. 

I know exactly what you’ve done, but it doesn’t matter because I am going to give you the gospel despite all of that. And this is I think what he wants you to know about yourself. It doesn’t matter the mistakes that you’ve made in the past. It’s all covered under the love of God. The cross covers it all. 

Here’s the thing that you want to know about your past. Yes, you make poor choices. At the moment when the Samaritan woman encounters Jesus and he confronts her with the truth, she does not pull back from him. He does not pull away from her. He accepts her and loves her for exactly who she is. 

That is why she’s able to accept the truth of the gospel and then gets so excited that she leaves. She never gets her water. You never see in the passage that she got what she went there for, and she runs off and she has to spread the word. 

The same goes for each of us. God wants you to know that he sees whatever sin, whatever mistake is in your past, he sees it. He knows exactly who you are. He knows exactly what you’ve done. He loves you anyway. 

I want to look at shame, guilt, and low self-worth. When you do something wrong, you feel guilty. I think the source of that guilt is almost like conviction, that you should feel guilty. You should feel the sting of your sin and those poor choices so that it drives you to repent and humble yourself so you can make things right. 

Guilt says you did something wrong. If I bite my child’s head off because I’m in a bad mood and I’m having a bad day, guilt will tell me I did something wrong and I need to go and humble myself before my child and repent and ask for their forgiveness to repair that relationship. 

Shame, on the other hand, says that you are wrong. Guilt says what you did is wrong. Shame says that you are wrong. In that same example, if I yell at my child, shame is going to tell me that I’m a terrible mother. I shouldn’t be allowed to have kids. It’s going to speak to who I am. Tell me I am wrong. 

There’s something wrong with me. I must be broken in some way. There’s something that can’t be fixed, and that’s clearly why I do all of these awful things. Shame is a lie. You have to learn to get your identity from the truest source there is, and that’s God. 

You have to ground yourself and your identity in what the word of God says about you. And God does not ever tell you that you should be full of shame and bound by shame. Low self-worth speaks to feeling incompetent, inadequate, and insecure. 

It’s not that you’re wrong and you’re a horrible person or you’re worthless because you did something. And it’s not that you feel bad about what you did, it’s speaking to your purpose. A person who’s struggling with low self-esteem is going to tell themselves, I can’t do that. I’m not smart enough. 

They believe even if you try, you always mess everything up. You think you’re a failure. Nobody’s going to love you. Nobody cares about you. How could they? This is a person who’s afraid to make mistakes. Why do all three of these things keep you stuck? Well, it’s because they speak to something true. 

They speak to the fact that you make mistakes, that you mess up, that you don’t get things right. Guilt is supposed to drive you to repentance, but shame and low self-worth attack your personhood, identity, and purpose.

To combat that you have to find your identity, your worth, your value, and your purpose in Christ because your identity is what matters. I think this is why the enemy attacks so much. If you don’t understand who you are as a daughter of the king, then you miss out on your authority, access, intimacy, and closeness with God that he wants to give. 

That will empower you to overcome all of the bad things that are going on in your life. In Philippians 1:6, this is what Paul reminds you, that he who began good work will see it through to completion. That is so true for you. 

Sanctification is a process and sometimes shame, low self-worth, and guilt are roadblocks on that path. But rest assured, whatever God starts, he’s going to finish. You have to keep persevering and hold on to the truth as you’re on this journey because that is what is going to keep you grounded.

When the enemy tries to tell you that you are awful, unlovable, unsavable, and that there’s no hope for you, you can combat that with the truth. Tell yourself that you serve a God who can heal and overcome and forgive all of that. 

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There’s no reason to try to be worthy of God, he already thinks you’re to die for.



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