In Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Levin is having a meal with his friend, Stepan. Levin is speaking to his friend about his life, and how, because of the consciousness of sin in his life, he feels unworthy to ask for the hand of a young woman whom he considers pure and above reproach.
“When with loathing I go over my life,” Levin says. “I shudder and curse and bitterly regret it.” The one comfort Levin tells his friend is like that prayer, “Forgive me not according to my unworthiness, but according to Thy lovingkindness.”
God doesn’t forgive us according to what we have done or who we have been. God forgives us according to His lovingkindness in the gift of His Son for our sins.
"Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance" (Romans 2:4)?
One day the Holy Spirit stirs the Word in your heart. You become aware there is something more you need. You begin to feel incomplete. God, who loves you, is drawing you to Himself. But God is holy. You begin to be conscious of things in your life that keep you from finding Him. You feel your unworthiness to come to Him. Yet, you still feel Him reaching for you. The more God patiently draws you toward His love and goodness, the more you become aware of your unworthiness. The more God wants to love you and have a relationship with you, the more you bitterly regret your life. If only you could get rid of this feeling of unworthiness standing in your way, so you could reach Him. If only the sins that separate you from Him could be gone. You yearn for a way to find God who is seeking you.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:16).
No matter how much you try to find God in your own worthiness, you never will. Jesus is the goodness of God that draws you to repentance. Jesus is God’s gift of love. He is the only way to God. He is God’s truth of forgiveness and new life for you (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is only in receiving Jesus as your way to God, that you receive His forgiveness. And when you receive Jesus in your heart, you receive God’s righteousness and worthiness (2 Corinthians 5:21). And when you receive God’s righteousness, you know your sins are gone. They are no more. Nothing separates you from God.
Are you conscious of your own unworthiness? Does it keep you from God who is pure and above reproach? Jesus alone makes you worthy with God. He only destroys sin. The goodness of God draws you.
Just ask Jesus into your heart, and you will receive the righteousness of God that gives you the worthiness to come freely to Him without any reproach. You will receive all of His worthiness, goodness, and love.
What you have sought is found.
© 2023 Lynn Lacher