by Mother Melania, Abbess of Holy Assumption Monastery

Have you ever noticed that the word ‘worthy’ isn’t exactly synonymous with ‘deserving’? Take ‘seaworthy,’ for example. Clearly, this does not mean that a seaworthy ship DESERVES to be on the sea, but that it is CAPABLE of being on the sea.

Why does that matter? For one thing, it’s important in understanding our relationship with God. None of us – even the greatest of saints – can ever DESERVE the astonishing self-sacrificial love of Christ. Yet through that very self-sacrifice, Christ makes even the greatest sinners WORTHY of His love, if we will only humbly repent and embrace Him.

So, understanding that we can be made worthy while always undeserving helps us avoid both pride and despair. Understanding this can also help our relationships with the people around us. Sadly, I sometimes get so aggravated that I just want to give up on certain people because – to my jaundiced mind – they don’t deserve the effort. But who DOES deserve unrelenting love? Certainly not me! Yet, by continuing to love me when I was very unlovable, some truly loving people in my own life have helped me to see my own sins, begin to repent of them, and thus become a little more WORTHY of their love and God’s.

When we want to give up on people, we have a choice. Will we follow that desire, which will bring temporary relief at best? Or will we ask ourselves this, “Are our actions and attitude making it HARDER or EASIER for this person to be worthy of God’s love?” Most of us have LOTS of room for improvement here! But through repentance and God’s UNDESERVED grace, we CAN become worthy not only of God’s love but of being vessels of that love to each other!