Sometimes I feel so unlovely.
Sometimes it rises up and sickens me: the horror of my lovelessness, the ugliness of my self-absorption, the scandal of my greed. How God hates my impurity and despises my pride and abhors my complaining (Psalm 26:5; Proverbs 6:16-19; 1 Cor 10:10; Ephesians 5:5).
I’m left gasping for breath, as if the possibility of God's love has been sucked from the air. My sudden self-awareness squeezes out any sense of God's grace. Stripped of my defences, I'm naked, ashamed, exposed.
The fact that I'm so stunned by this view of myself shows how seldom I see the truth. How, at some level, I believe God loves me because he finds my personality winsome and my potential impressive. Because he rates my performance at least above a pass mark. Because I'm, well, lovable.
This is, to put it mildly, an entire tip-full of garbage.
When I see my unloveliness, I see more clearly than I usually do. The rose-colored glasses are shattered, the make-up scrubbed off, the mirror wiped clean.
I am unlovely. That’s precisely the point.
God loves the unlovable. Jesus died for the unlovely. It's the blind who see, the leprous who are healed, the lost who are found. It's the guilty who are forgiven. (Matthew 11:2-6, Mark 2:13-17, Luke 15:1-32, 18:9-14) Full of the illusion of my loveliness, I'm bereft of grace. Emptied of myself, I'm ready to be filled.
Unlovely, I am loved.
This article first appeared at The Briefing yesterday.
image is by gogoloopie at flickr