The flawless looking model on TV flashes her bright white teeth, but her smile doesn’t reach her eyes. Her pretend fiancé presents her with a jewelry box containing a pair of expensive diamond earrings. She looks at the camera and says you should have some too, because she insists, “You deserve it!” But I know I don’t, and neither does she. When the world tells us, “We deserve it,” it tells multiple lies to hopeful, hurting people.
The world tells us we deserve nice, expensive things because we are all awesome and wonderful people. The problem is, not everyone is awesome, and most people are not so wonderful either. In fact, none of us deserve anything, because we are all sinners. The world also lies by placing false requirements upon us. It deceives us by telling us we need to pay a lot of money to get the things we rightfully “deserve.” Advertisers and businesses want us to believe that we will become even more awesome and wonderful people if we buy their products. On top of that, the sad truth is these items are only going to temporarily make us feel better.
We are sinners: broken hurting people, raised by broken, hurting people, trying to raise broken, hurting people. That is not so awesome. But the silver lining is that we don’t have to stay that way. We have Jesus. Jesus is NO Band-Aid. Jesus is a HEALER. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 New International Version). Try as we may to: be a good person, do good deeds, spread goodness…we will never be good enough. We are only good because Jesus lives inside of us. If we continue to follow him, some of his awesome and wonderful goodness will rub off on us too.
We don’t deserve good things, best things, or better than best things. We deserve death: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Sin leads to death; so how can there be hope for anyone? Every day, people lie, cheat, steal, gossip, covet, blame, bully, envy, fight, cuss, and manipulate. People do these things with the intentions of being “good.” That’s because we are born with sin and will battle it until we die. But Jesus loves us still. “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7 New Living Translation).
In fact, Jesus loves us so much, that he agreed to sacrifice himself on the cross, as a love offering for you and me. He agreed to have our sins transferred unto himself. But Jesus was perfect! He didn’t deserve death! Yet, he took the punishment that each of us deserved, so we could have a chance to live forever! He took our punishment, so we wouldn’t be in danger of going to Hell. He never changed his mind, even though he could have chosen to save himself from torture and death at any moment. People spat on him. He took it. People insulted him. He took it. People beat him. He took it. People killed him… He died. And then… He LIVED! Why would anyone reject Our Savior who loves us so much? “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 NIV).
Only with Jesus, do we become awesome and wonderful enough to enter the gates of Heaven. What if we sin? Those of us who accept the sacrifice, and ask Jesus into our hearts, are now cleansed of sin. “ ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool ” (Isa. 1:18). If we have Jesus, we are forgiven through Christ! We no longer have to fear God’s judgment. We can’t get into Heaven without Jesus, because sin cannot be in the presence of God. It separates us from Him. Besides, God has promised us a perfect paradise in Heaven. The tiniest sin would spoil it, just like it did when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. Isn’t it humbling that God is willing to give us everything we could imagine, including eternal life, even when we don’t deserve it? God offers us a free gift, His Son, Jesus Christ. When we accept the gift, we are receiving eternal life, and the salvation of our souls.
I’m so thankful for Jesus. I’m only good because he lives in me. Though I mess up and make mistakes over and over again, God forgives me, erasing all my sins: past, present, and future. Having a relationship with Jesus means he will help me to become more like him each and every day. I have to be willing to pick up my cross and follow Jesus. When I do this, God will bless me along the way. God gives me good things…not because I deserve them…but because He loves me, and He wants to bless me. And when I die, I will get the biggest reward of my eternal life…a reward which I don’t deserve, but a reward which I will eternally grateful to have; a life in Heaven with God, and His Son Jesus Christ, and all those I love who know him…amazing, incredible, paradise…and it will never, ever end!
“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me’ ” (Luke 9: 23).
Part 1 in the 5-part Compassion Series: “Being Compassionate to Yourself through Jesus Christ”
Titles in this Compassion Series:
“The Good Life…Do We ‘DESERVE IT?’ “
“You are Worthy”
“Be Good to Yourself”
“Why Am I So Hard on Myself?”
“Battling Lies that Hurt Us”