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Telling “You’re Not Worthy” Exactly Where It Can Go

Mar 15, 2015 10:39AM ● By Bonnie Lyn Smith
(Editor's note: Our newest columnist, Bonnie Lyn Smith, is a longtime resident of the Merrimack Valley. She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God's Purpose in Each New Day and a blogger at Espressos of Faith.)

A close friend and mentor of mine taught me this cute little phrase: “Go lick a shut-up-sicle!” Now, I realize that can be offensive, so I try not to say that to people, and if you’re offended by “shut up” in any context, maybe it’s best you stop reading. But I do believe there is a place for this little phrase, and I’ve more or less come to adore it. Even around my Moms’ Prayer table every other week, we’ve come to have more than one giggle about it.


Because we do have the right to say this to a few things in our lives, and one of them is that haunting, sneaky voice: “You’re not worthy.”

Here are some versions we can hear in our own minds:

  • You’re not worthy because you can’t offer your children $800/week stimulating, science camps all summer. You’ve already failed to give them the edge. They’ll never have the skills for scholarships now. You’ve caused them to fall behind their peers. Great parent you are!
  • You’re not worthy because you don’t school at home, raise chickens, grow your own vegetables, and make bread from scratch every day. 
  • You’re not worthy because you are a bad person for living away from family. It doesn’t matter that a job brought you to where you are. You left the flock, so shame on you! You deserve not having any help.
  • You’re not worthy because you can’t keep a clean house or ever get anywhere on time. Why would anyone want to come over to your cluttered, small house anyway?
  • You’re not worthy because you don’t bring in a regular paycheck and/or you stay at home.
  • You’re not worthy because your social anxiety makes you awkward. Your direct approach makes indirect folks cringe, and you should never make other people uncomfortable because of who you are.
Much of the time these thoughts aren’t actually spoken to us. Some of them fall under that slippery slope of dangers of comparing ourselves to others

Regardless of cause, they are dark voices inside our own heads. They may be informed by pieces of what has been said to us over time or even our own insecurities, but they are absolutely 100 percent lies the enemy of our soul offers to keep our focus off not only our Creator but also helping other people. 

At first, these voices of condemnation wink at us, flirt with us, court us, buy us a nice new dress, and take us for a charming waltz across the floor—far from the things we should be focusing on. Pretty soon we are getting in the car with them and going for a long drive. 

Let’s admit it. The condemning voices come into our heads, but we are the ones who willingly go cruising down Main Street with them until they shove us out of the car and leave us standing in the rain, abandoned and wallowing in everything those lies delivered: shame, guilt, low self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness. After they draw us away from conversations we could be having with Christ, we are 




But that’s where the shut-up-sicle comes in. Oh, how I love that shut-up-sicle! 

See, the thing is: We don’t have to listen. We can tell “You’re not worthy” to be quiet! We have power and authority to shout it out with the name of Jesus—because that name makes that condemning voice quake, tremble, and run back into the dark corners from which it came.

The Bible says we are worthy because Christ died for us. That more or less shouts out any and all voices that say otherwise. 

Romans 5:6-8, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (emphasis mine).

Romans 8:1-4, ESV Apostle Paul speaking

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (emphasis mine).

I have learned over time to call “You’re not worthy” by name. 

I say: “‘You’re not worthy,’ Jesus says that I am indeed worthy through His death (and resurrection) on the cross on my behalf. There is ‘no condemnation’ for those who are in Christ Jesus. The ‘righteous requirement of the law’ has been fulfilled for me.”

And then my favorite part:

“Hey, ‘You’re not worthy’! Go lick a shut-up-sicle, because I’m covered by the grace of God through His Son Jesus!” 

I don’t fight with ‘You’re not worthy.’ That battle has already been won. 

End of story. It is finished (John 19:30).

Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.

Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.

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