Why Do You Love Me?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. Ephesians 1:3-8
Sometimes the simplest questions are the most difficult to answer. And sometimes the simplest answer is the hardest to arrive at. As I was rocking and snuggling my youngest today, I kissed his neck and said, “I’m so glad you belong to me.”
He’s only four but he still knows how to ask difficult questions. One that had me especially stumped once was, “Will you tell Gabriel to open his mouth? He’s chewing in my eye.” However when I translated that, inserting ‘open’ to ‘close’ and ‘eye’ to ‘ear,’ I figured it out. But today when I said I was glad he belonged to me, he asked me a harder question.
He asked, “Why?”
Any parent knows that there’s a million different reasons mixed up in one for that answer. And true to my M.O. I have spent the last 16 years overthinking the answer to this question. I have never wanted to give my children a skewed understanding of where their worth comes from.
Why do we love our children?
Why do we value them?
I don’t want them to always hear, “Because you’re so cute,” and grow up to think their worth will diminish with their looks.
I don’t want them to always hear, “Because you’re so good,” and have them grow up to think they lose their value to me if they let me down.
I don’t want them to always hear, “Because you’re so smart,” and have them view themselves as worthless when they start struggling to grasp things that are difficult for them.
And of course I think it’s important to acknowledge that they are cute and good and smart. But that’s not why I love them.
The simplest and truest answer to his question didn’t come to me until later. I love them because they are mine. Sometimes they aren’t cute. I still love them. Sometimes they aren’t good. I still love them. Sometimes they aren’t smart. I still love them.
I love them because they are mine.
I think the need to know why we are valued is a human condition. It’s also the human condition to desperately try to gain more worth—try to be loved more. It looks different for each of us—some try to be strong, some try to be smart, some try to be funny, some try to out-love, some try to be beautiful, some try to check off each the above—none of us are immune.
If the answer to God’s love rests on something about us, then what happens? We become scared and unsure, tossed back and forth, trying to throw more weight on the worthiness scale.
If the answer to God’s love rests on him alone, if he loves us just because he made us, just because we are his, then no ugliness or sinfulness or ineptness or uselessness on our part will diminish that.
I’ve always wondered why David was called the apple of God’s eye. A murderer. An adulterer. A terrible parent. I’m sure there are many layers to that answer but maybe one layer is simply that he belonged to God.
Our worth is rooted solely in God. Any deviation from that truth brings uncertainty and insecurity. When we take our focus off of God and put it on ourselves, self-image issues strangle us. We’ve been bought with a price, our life is no longer about us. It’s about him.
Our worth is in being created in the image of God. Our worth is in having been bought with the precious blood of God. Our worth is in being adopted into the family of God.
We are worthy because he loves us and he loves us because of who he is.
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7