“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
It can be so easy for me to take verses in Scripture like John 3:16 for granted. It’s a verse that I have been incredibly familiar with from a very early age. I can recite it completely without much mental effort. And while I certainly view memorizing scripture as a positive thing, I think I can sometimes forget how beautiful and impactful its words truly are.
I know God loves me. I do. In fact, I often point to this verse as a reminder of that reality. However, my actions don’t always match this mental catagory. I have a difficult time taking it from my head to my heart. Instead of reading a verse like John 3:16 and applying it to my own life, I often only apply it to the lives of others. God loves the whole world, God loves everybody. But does God truly and deeply love me? Sometimes I am not so sure.
This doubt in the divine love that Christ shows is ultimately sourced in my inability to see myself as someone who is worth loving and worth sacrificing for. But, I often am perfectly able and willing to see the rest of the world as made in God’s image, loved, and worth sacrificing for. I often allow my familiarity with my flaws and imperfections to override my familiarity with the truth that is found in Scripture.
I am learning that I can’t let my own view of myself hold me back from experiencing the love and grace that God always offers. I naturally will assume that I am not worthy of that kind of a divine gift. But, I have to remember that God’s love is just that, a gift that I am not worthy of. Coming to terms with the fact that I can’t earn God’s gift of love is hard for me. I often want to try to pay God back or show God that I was a good investment. But, that isn’t how love works. It’s not dependent on me or how I feel. I have to trust that God loves me regardless. I am just as worthy and deserving of love, not because of anything that I have done or how I see myself, but simply because of who God is. That is what I hope to cling to and celebrate as we remember what Christ did for all of us on Easter. May we remember what Christ did and see the beauty of a divine love that could never be earned.