“I’m saved like the criminal on the cross. Praise God! I’m saved, no more to suffer loss. Well, He said I’d live in paradise, and he’s taken care of the cost. Hallelujah! I’m saved like the criminal on the cross.”
Paul says that of sinners he was chief. Paul was right. But for this day and age, I am Paul. Though I have never acted upon many of the things that prey upon my soul daily, I feel I’m the worst sinner of all. I’m a lust-filled, prideful, spiteful, arrogant, fleshly, independent, self-centric, idolatrous, carnal and fallen man. I’m even taking pride right now in my use of adjectives to describe myself.
I am broken. I am worthless. I have nothing to give. I am talentless. I am hopelessly lost, and without grace. I am a dead man living in the shadow of life. That is who I am. That is not who I want to be. When we sin, we grieve and quench the Holy Spirit. When we quench the Holy Spirit, His transforming work in us is hindered.
I don’t want to sin. I hate sinning. Because I know the nails that pierced His hands were the price of my forgiveness. And when I sin, it not only hurts me, but it hurts Him. So, you think you’re worthless? So you think you’re without hope? Abandon, left for dead, at the end of your rope. Well, maybe you are. But forgiveness is for the broken heart. Until we realize, that our only worth is to Christ, and the only worth we will ever be to the world is through Christ; that without Christ we are worthless, we will never live lives of value.
I am worthless. I recognize that, I admit that. Not because I want to be forgiven: for grace is the abhorrence of a sin filled heart. It is the irony of the nature of Man that the one thing we covet and desire most we revile at the mention of and detest because of a lack of understanding. Our minds can’t understand grace: that someone we hated loved us; that someone we willingly slaughtered would forgive us; that someone would even want to spend eternity with His own enemies so much so that He would sacrifice Himself. This is grace.
We don’t want grace. We can’t fathom grace. And yet we need grace. Somewhere in the hearts and souls of men we welcome and except punishment for crimes. We take satisfaction in earning the end result. Serial criminals want to be captured, because in their fantasy the justifiable end of their story is in capture. That is their final glory: to be remembered. We feel justified when we receive punishment for our actions, So when we don’t, which is called grace, we feel the greater punishment: freedom.
To the rebellious, foolhardy, evil men living their lives in the jail cell of actions justified by punishment, freedom is the worst torture. We subject ourselves to the thinking that confinement is victory and freedom is loss… But someone eventually caught on. The criminal on the cross figured out the great secret of life. Until a person truly feels worthless, they will never find worth. Until a person is completely broken, they can never be made whole. Until a person is on their last hope, they can never discover the hope of glory.
So, you think you’re worthless? If you truly are, rejoice. Until we realize our worthlessness, we can never discover our worth. Not self-worth, but Christ-worth: for without Him, we can do nothing. That’s the definition of worthlessness. But, it’s also the definition of worth.
As always, thanks for reading, and find your worthlessness and thereby, your worth.
—the anonymous novelist