“Because You’re Worth It.”
This is the narcissistic Gospel of L’Oréal: “Because You’re Worth it.” Here’s the logic:
- You are inherently beautiful and lovely.
- Therefore you deserve love, respect, acceptance, affirmation, attention, *insert own self-puffing noun that you deserve because you are, ya know, worth it* . . .
You’re worth it. You are inherently valuable / _________ (insert here whatever inherent quality you think you possess). Therefore you deserve _________ (insert here whatever you feel entitled to). This is the Spirit of the Age. This is the Gospel of L’Oréal.
The “Gospel” Gospel–that is, the real Gospel–is much more offensive than that, much more hurtful (to our own egos) than that. The Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that we are inherently unlovable, that we are sinful and worthless, but God still loved us anyway. (Yes, we are made in the image of God, yes we have inherent human dignity –> but this is easily morphed into narcissistic humanism.)
So here’s the logic of the true Gospel:
- We are inherently unlovable. There is nothing in us that is lovable.
- Therefore we don’t deserve jack-squat. We don’t deserve love. We don’t deserve salvation. We don’t deserve redemption. We don’t deserve God’s attention. We don’t deserve God’s favor. We don’t deserve God’s blessing. We don’t deserve grace. We don’t deserve _________ (insert here whatever it is you think you deserve, but you actually don’t).
But the Gospel is that God gives grace anyway. Freely given, to whomever he so chooses (and he freely chooses to withhold grace to whomever he chooses to withhold grace). And grace is always undeserved; it is always given to those who do not deserve it. (If it were deserved/earned, then it wouldn’t be grace.)
God loves you anyway. God still loves you. But not because you’re lovely, but because God is loving. That’s why it’s about God’s glory, and not about you or your salvation. Many times when we hear the Gospel, it’s really a narcissistic pat on the back. We take “God loves you” not to mean, “Oh God is so loving.” We take it to mean “God loves YOU! Isn’t that great? You’re so special. See, he loves you. Therefore, shouldn’t you love him back?”
That’s the Gospel of L’Oréal right there: “Because you’re worth it. [Therefore you deserve it.]” NO!!! You’re not worth it. That’s key! But God loved you anyway, despite how holy he is, how perfect he is. Therefore, his love makes us loveable by his love shown in Christ. We therefore become loveable. But we don’t worship our loveability, because it is not inherent in us. We worship and praise the God who made us loveable. Only he deserves glory and honor and praise.
Dating & Relationships (& Self-Worth/Self-Identity): The Gospel of L’Oréal tells women, “Woman, you’re worth it. You are inherently valuable. Therefore, you need to find a man who loves you for who you are.” In the word’s of John Piper, “That’s crap theology.” It’s a load of baloney. It’s septic goop.
The real Gospel tells women, “Woman, you are valuable, because God loves you. The Most High has washed you in the blood of his Son. Therefore, you need to find a man who loves God. For any man who loves God will obey God’s calling and choose to love you, even when you are unlovable. Indeed, his love is that which makes you holy. Ephesians 5:25-26 tells us that the sacrificial love of the husband (which mirrors Jesus’ love for the Church) is what sanctifies and cleanses the woman and makes her pure and lovely to behold.
Therefore woman, choose not a man who loves you, but who loves God and will therefore choose to love you, in sickness and in health, till death do you part.”
(Now the true Gospel speaks to men, too, but that is not for this blog post. Instead, recognize that all who belong to Christ, male and female, are the Church. Therefore, we can and should relate (as the “woman” addressed above) to being the bride of Christ, our groom and husband who has washed us in his blood.)
Let me end with a quote from Martin Luther:
The love of God does not find but creates that which is lovely to it.
We are not worth it. Therefore we do not deserve. We are not loveable. But God’s gracious, undeserved love makes us loveable. Let us therefore preach the Gospel of Christ, not the Gospel of L’Oréal.
P.S. What? You still want to hear more about me bashing narcissism? Well, only if you want to. I bash the narcissism inherent to the theology of God’s Unconditional Love (and that’s the Gospel of Monsters University? Just kidding).
Credits: Thanks to Ruth, my sister, for editing this post for me.