Summary: A sermon about forgiveness, redemption and service.
“Not Good Enough?”
There is a video clip from the t-v show “Ellen.”
And the background to this clip is about a lady named Gladdis.
You see, Gladdis got onto the Ellen Show because she wrote a letter to Ellen complaining about where the plants were placed on the set.
Apparently, this letter peaked Ellen’s interest in “just who” this Gladdis lady was and what she was up to.
So, during one of her shows, Ellen called Gladdis on the telephone.
And Ellen asked Gladdis, “Have you ever been on t-v before?”
And this is Gladdis’ response: She said, “Well, no.”
And then she said, “But I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”
I’m not sure why she answered that way.
Ellen hadn’t asked her about her relationship with God at all.
“I love Jesus,” she said, “but I drink a little.”
When I saw this clip I started pondering, as most pastors do…
…we have some really deep thoughts about things sometimes, you know…
…and so I started pondering this phrase.
“I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”
And as I began to think about it—it started to dawn on me, “You know there is a lot of truth to this statement for a lot of people—including myself.”
Sometimes in my own life there’s this type of thing.
“I love Jesus, but…”
How about you?
Do you have this in your life as well?
For some it may be, “I love Jesus, but I talk a little too much behind other peoples’ backs.”
Or, “I love Jesus, but I use words that hurt people sometimes.”
Or, “I love Jesus, but I cheat on my taxes.”
Or, “I love Jesus, but I just don’t like myself.”
When I was a freshman in college I was walking across campus one bright and sunny day, when I came across a woman who was in my English class, and who also went to the same Bible study I went to.
She was probably in her fifties.
I was 18.
In any event we got talking and eventually the conversation turned to God.
And this woman believed in God.
She even loved God.
But then she said something that I had a hard time understanding.
She said, “Heaven must be a wonderful place, but I will never be there.”
I asked her why, and she said, “Because I’m not good enough.”
As our conversation continued I learned that she had been molested by her father as a child.
And she was also told continually by her parents that she was stupid, no good and would never amount to anything.
When she got older she married a man who abused her as well.
He called her all sorts of names and she believed him.
And so, this women who loved God and Jesus, was convinced that she would never go to heaven because she was totally sure she was not good enough.
We talked for a long time that day.
We talked about the love of God.
We talked about grace.
We talked about why Jesus had come and died.
Eventually my friend looked at me and said: “Do you mean to say that I can actually go to heaven?
Do you mean to say that I will be there too?”
In our Scripture passage for this morning we see Isaiah struggling with the problem of “I’m not good enough.”
And many of us, like Isaiah, often feel a sense of low or no self-worth.
We might think, “Who am I that God might want to send me?”
“I can’t share God’s message of hope with others.”
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m in bondage to sin and I can’t free myself.”
We all mess up sometimes, whether it’s lashing out at a friend, engaging in self-destructive behavior—you name it.
And with these mistakes often come overwhelming feelings of guilt.
Too often we punish ourselves for past mistakes, as if we could somehow “make up” the wrong that we’ve done on our own.
This may cause us to walk through each day feeling less-than.
We might call ourselves “losers,” “no good,” “unlovable.”
Counselors and life coaches report that the hardest person to forgive is often ourselves.
Not the friend who backstabbed us.
Or the dad who wasn’t there for us.
Or even the ex who broke our heart.
Holding on to feelings of self-condemnation can lead to stress, depression, anxiety disorders and even heart disease.
Not to mention keeping us from doing what God created us to do and from being all God created us to be.
The first 8 verses of Isaiah Chapter 6 describe one of the best known of Isaiah’s prophetic visions.
Isaiah is summoned to the throne of God and overcome by awe and terror.