We all struggle with feeling unworthy of love sometimes. You are in the company of thousands when asking the question “How can I receive love when I feel unworthy?”
What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know goes away, in the end.
And you could have it all, my empire of dirt, I will let you down, I will make you hurt.
Credit: Sung by Johnny Cash, lyrics by Bill Rice & Jerry Foster
We Can be Our Own Worst Enemy When Feeling Unworthy of Love
We Hurt Ourselves
Millions of people have heard Johnny Cash’s version of this song. You can feel his pain and life regret as he sings it. He recorded this song a few months before he died, and I’m convinced he meant every word.
Like many other people, Cash lived a tough life. But, as born out in this song, he realized he was his own worst enemy. That’s often the case when someone feels unworthy of anyone’s love.
Riches and Fame
He had immense talent and made much money. So, he wasn’t born into a harsh life in terms of poverty. But he fought through losing a beloved brother at a young age, drug addiction, and multiple arrests. Riches and fame are no guarantee of happiness and satisfaction or of knowing at the end of your life that you’ve fully lived.
We Can’t Find Peace
We can’t Earn Peace
It’s like he had a split personality. Besides his struggles with the law, he did much good in his life, and Jesus became his Savior. Having been in prison briefly a few times, he identified with, entertained, and visited prisons and prisoners. So, he identified with the downtrodden, even writing a song explaining that he wore black in memory of them:
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner, who has long paid for his crime…
I wear the black for those who’ve never read, or listened to the words that Jesus said
About the road to happiness, through love and charity, why you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me.”
But it seemed he never found peace; he struggled with life until the day he died. When I think of someone who must have felt unworthy of love, he immediately comes to mind.
When We feel Unworthy of Love We Can’t Love Others
We Let Them Down
When people feel unworthy of love, they don’t know how to love others either. Cash must have thought he’d often let people down, singing, “I will let you down. I will make you hurt.” He warned others away, fearing his friendship would drag them down.
Others Let Us Down
Psychologists tell us many feel unworthy of love because of how they were treated as children. But no human parent or teacher is perfect at what they do. We all have issues to overcome.
How Should We Love Ourselves?
God Loved Us First
Many secular psychologists advise people with this issue to learn how to love themselves. But the Bible doesn’t point us first to ourselves. It tells us how God has loved us:
“We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).”
What’s More Important than That?
What could be more important than knowing that? The universe’s most important and powerful person created us and loves us. He even made us in His image.
Feelings of Unworthiness Come From a Lack of Confidence
So, how does the Bible say we have confidence before God?
Living in Love
“Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him …. We may have boldness (confidence) on the Day of Judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. Whoever fears is not perfect in love (1 John 4:16-18).”
Where Our Worthiness Come From
How can I receive love when I feel unworthy? Love is more than a feeling. It’s doing the best for us and others. Our worthiness comes because God created and loves us, and He loved us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for us. And God did that while we were still His enemies. Our worthiness had nothing to do with God loving us. We couldn’t and can’t earn God’s love. But we can pass along His love by loving others who also may not be worthy. You can read more about who Jesus is here.
If you want to know how much god loves you, we invite you to watch this video.