“I have loved you deeply,”
says the LORD.
But you retort,
“Really? How have you loved us?”
Malachi 1:2a NLT
I don’t know if this will resound with you guys out there, but me and my girlfriends can all easily think of a time we felt completely unloveable. If I’m being completely honest, I have those moments pretty often. It doesn’t take much; it happens pretty much every time
- A picture of myself makes me look like Jabba the Hut.
- I participate in a group activity where everyone else is better at it than me.
- I have a flashback of past choices I made that make me cringe now.
- I get a zit.
When you’ve convinced yourself that you are unloveable, not much can convince you otherwise, right? Even a hug from a friend or a compliment from a loved one might be met with doubt and sarcasm if you are really feeling low. My husband can look me right in the eye and tell me that I’m beautiful and he thinks I’m an irresistible level of lovable, but if I’m not loving myself at that moment, I struggle with believing him.
When I use my own standard of love, I fall short.
But it’s my own standard of love that creates the whole problem. I didn’t really realize it until I read Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament. It opens with these words from God to his people:
I have loved you deeply. (Malachi 1:2a NLT)
God – the creator of the universe – says these words to his people. Guess how they responded…
Really? How have you loved us? (Malachi 1:2b NLT)
Doubt and sarcasm. It’s a theme that continues throughout the entire four chapter book. Their response to God shows over and over again that they define love with a different standard than God does.
Just like my response to my husband when I’m using my own standard of love.
But God doesn’t just love me when I’m zit-free, dancing like Ginger Rogers, and sinless. God doesn’t even take zits or physical coordination into consideration when he says he loves me deeply. And, because of Jesus, he doesn’t consider sin an obstacle to loving us, either.
My appearance, self-worth, abilities or mistakes don’t dictate his love for us.
And his love doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect. There will be days of acne. (Maybe even years…) There will be times when I don’t like how I look in pictures or in real life. There will be wars and rumors of wars until the end of time.
The existence of these problems don’t define his love for us.
If he says he loves me deeply, he does. If he says he loves YOU deeply, he does. Even when it doesn’t feel like he does, he does.
So we really don’t have any reason left to feel unlovable. Jabba, zits and all.
Dear Lord, I love that you love me deeply. I love that you told the Israelites this same thing. I’m sorry for all the times we’ve doubted this love over the centuries. Thank you for loving us with something far beyond our standard of love – beyond what makes sense to us. Help us to love you deeply with this kind of love in return. Amen.