Updated: Oct 1, 2020
And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. - Matthew 22:8
You are not worthy. She is not worthy. I am not worthy.
You might find the sentences above a little hard to swallow, and I don't blame you. With the amount of "I Am Worthy" statements being thrown around today in Christian culture, reading something so opposite of it might be kind of a shock. But I want to explain today why I think the "Worthy" mindset is so dangerous and even anti-Christian, and why we need to stop throwing this term around so willy-nilly.
Let's look at some examples of the "I am Worthy" statements being used in today's Christian culture:
Chris Tomlin's new song, "Who You are to Me," with Lady A makes this statement, Sometimes I have my doubts, I'm sure that everybody does, and I wonder when I stumble, am I still worthy of Your love?
In Jennifer Rothschild's Bible study, Hosea, she writes this to the reader: "You were worth the life of Jesus. That is how valuable you are to Him. You may not feel that special or valuable, but, Gomer Girl, who you are and how you feel are not the same thing. Trust God's opinion of you. He sees you as incredibly, eternally, valuable." (I own this Hosea study. Taken from pages 64-65.)
Rachel Hollis, in her supposedly Christian book, "Girl, Stop Apologizing," says this, "You are beautiful, and are worthy of good things, and if you don't believe that, nobody will."
So these examples might not seem that bad right? What's wrong with a little "I Am Worthy" statements to make us feel better?
Allow me to explain five reasons why I find this subtle statement dangerous.
1. There is only One Person in Scripture who is considered "Worthy."
That person is Jesus. Revelations 5:1-5 states,
Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
When we call ourselves and other women, "worthy," we are directly contradicting what Scripture says. We are not worthy, and can't be. There is only One who is worthy of blessings, honor, glory, and wealth. And that person is Jesus Christ. Scripture directly calls out that nobody other than Jesus is worthy of anything. Sorry, Rachel Hollis, but you are wrong. We might be beautiful, but we are certainly not worthy of anything.
2. When we lie to ourselves and other women by saying we are worthy of something, we are promoting pride.
You see friends, saying something so dangerous like, "You are worthy of good things, and if you don't believe that, nobody will," is doing nothing except making us believe that we deserve something that we don't have. This is a prideful way of thinking, and extremely contradictory to what the Bible teaches.
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
Telling ourselves that we are worthy of something is dangerous. First off, it promotes a victim-mindset. When we don't get something we feel we are worthy of, we become angry and begin to doubt God. Secondly, everything we have comes from God alone. That is spelled out very clearly in Ecclesiastes. So then, if God chooses to bestow grace on us and give us earthly blessings, then we need to be thanking God, rather than believing we did something ourselves to deserve these blessings. In essence, being prideful is useless, because everything we have comes from God.
3. Telling ourselves, "We are worthy," is keeping us from addressing serious internal issues.
When we sugarcoat feelings of guilt, sadness, hurt, and depression with unhelpful statements like, "I am worthy," it is keeping us from addressing serious issues that need to be addressed. Most people would rather hear that they are fine just the way they are rather than truly fixing the core problem. But what is causing those feelings of sadness, hurt, depression, or guilt? Is there something you haven't been able to let go of? Are you holding feelings of resentment? Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Have you committed a sin that you haven't apologized for? Have you apologized for that sin, but you are not allowing yourself to get over your feelings of guilt?
We are more powerful at controlling our thoughts and emotions than we think we are. Chances are, if we address why we are feeling the way we are feeling rather than choosing to stroke our egos, sugarcoat our problems, and push down negative feelings, then we will be happier and healthier individuals. I know this from experience. I used to have a victim mentality. I used to be severely depressed. I used to love sugarcoating my problems with statements like, "I am worthy." But the fact was, I wasn't. It wasn't until I chose to address my issues, to bring everything out into the light, that I truly found healing. And now, I dislike sayings like, "I am worthy" because I know how counterproductive to healing statements like these really are.
4. We are taking away from the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
Sisters, we were not worthy of Jesus's death or love. We never could be. Jesus came and did that sacrifice for us out of mercy and love, even when we chose to turn away from Him and kill Him on the cross. It was a selfless act that never would have had to happen had we not chosen sin over life. We are not worthy for the Lamb to come and sacrifice His life for us, but He did anyway. Saying something so dangerous as, "We were worthy of Jesus's death," takes away from the grace, mercy, and beautiful sacrifice that Jesus made for us out of the kindness of His heart.
5. There is not one Scripture passage I could find that calls humanity worthy without a direct correlation to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the Gospel.
Even when I specifically looked up women's blogs that said, "10 Verses to Prove How Worthy You Are," I found that there was not one verse on these blogs that actually had anything to do with someone being worthy. The word "Worthy" wasn't even in the verses they referenced! So, I went back to Scripture instead. Here's the verses I found talking about worthiness:
Matthew 22:8 - Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.
Ephesians 4:1 - Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
Philippians 1:27 - Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
You see, these verses here prove that we cannot be worthy without Jesus Christ. Jesus is the One who is worthy. Not us. But when we allow Jesus to enter our lives, we must choose to live in a manner that is worthy of our calling. And what is that calling? To be a servant to Jesus Christ! But we aren't even worthy or good at being a servant! Paul even begs us to "live in a manner worthy" of the Good News. So even though we are not truly worthy of anything, including Jesus's death and love for us, we can live in a manner that allows Jesus to be shown to the world.
In conclusion, there are statements out there that do correctly label us what we are. Yes, we are loved. Yes, we are beautiful. Yes, we are capable. But we are not worthy.
We are beautiful because we are made in God's image. We are capable, because God gives us strength. We are loved, because Jesus volunteered to die on the cross for us, even though we were not worthy. But there is only One who is worthy. And that person is Jesus Christ.
And that's okay. Why?
Because He is the only One who deserves the title of Worthy.