“…Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.”
(Luke 7:6 ESV)
“When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
(Luke 7:9 ESV)
A centurion was a professional officer in the Roman army. The centurion in the Roman army would fall somewhere between a high-ranking non-commissioned officer and a captain in the modern army. He oversaw and had authority of 100 soldiers. He had to be tough, fair, courageous, and authoritative to be a Roman army official. In Scriptures, this particular centurion is also depicted as a loving, kind, compassionate, and generous man, concerned with his servants’ declining health, which in the first century, not even the average citizen would show concern for the welfare of a servant. Also practiced in the first century, Jewish citizens would not have entered the homes of Gentiles for fear of becoming impure. Most importantly, he demonstrated an understanding of and believed in Jesus’ authority and power, yet he did not see himself as worthy enough to expect a personal visit from Christ! Not only was his servant healed, Christ commended him for his faith!
Being unworthy is defined as not good enough to deserve something or someone. A feeling of being insufficient in worth; and undeserving. We all have experienced feelings of unworthiness. It’s a human feeling or condition that cannot be resisted or avoided. Either as a parent, spouse, employee, student, friend, athlete, son or daughter, feelings of unworthiness creep in and paralyze our lives. It can be brief and fleeting or long in duration. It can keep us from life’s events or change our course in life. Unworthiness makes us second guess our actions, motives, and desires, and what we fundamentally believe in.
I have had my personal share of feeling unworthy! I have experienced moments of unworthiness as a wife, as a mother, and even as a nurse. I know I’m in great company to this unwanted nuisance of feeling unworthy. The struggle of always feeling “not good enough” or “not fitting in” makes it more difficult to navigate through life. Just admitting I have, on many countless occasions struggled with unworthiness is hard to even admit but I know honesty would force all of us to agree it infects human life every second of every day. Unworthiness is always lurking and waiting to attack us, especially in our weakest of moments.
Last month I experienced such a weak moment. To be painfully honest, I have struggled with feelings of unworthiness spiritually for most of my life. I feel I am THE MOST UNWORTHY of unworthiness in front of a Holy and Righteous God. The origin of my spiritual unworthiness is none other but ME for I have no one to accuse, no spiritual experience to substantiate my allegation of unworthiness, no justification or validation to indicate its presence, it’s just there!
On the day of my father’s funeral, I experienced a weak moment where unworthiness crept in filling me with the doubt of Christ’s love for me. I felt unworthy to be called a child of God. I did not attend my father’s funeral because I was unable to face and hear stories of how great a father he was to children not his own. Envy and anger began filling and overflowing every fracture of my broken being. The strong desire to numb my conscience and ease my pain was palpable. Stories I wish were my own, life narratives to cherish and treasure, sweet memories of a father and his love and affection for his little girl, were not mine to remember, embrace and share. As I lay there grieving the broken emptiness and crying in prayer, I asked myself the following question: Which God do I follow? As a self-described “unworthy” follower of Christ, I saw only two options:
The Christ standing at my bedside saying, “my child, you must not weep, for I am with you always and I am here with you right now! I will one day take away your pain and sorrow, but you must keep the faith and be patient, for your day has not yet come.”
The Christ who turns away from me in disgust for He is unwilling to look at me in my time of distress, unworthiness, and grieving pain.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are…” (1 John 3:1 ESV)
“And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, do not weep.” (Luke 7:13 ESV)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
(2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)
“He will swallow up death forever; and wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth…” (Isaiah 25:8 ESV)
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 ESV)
In times of our unworthiness, Christ restores us to worthiness!
What Christ do you follow? Do you allow your feelings of unworthiness to keep you from life events? Does it change your course in life?
“Do you believe that God loves you? Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity, that He loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain, that He loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, and your whole being rejects him? Do you believe that God loves without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be?”