Why Does God Want to Hang Out with a Bad Person Like Me?

Cecil TaylorBy Cecil Taylor5 Minutes

Sometimes you will hear someone pull a line from an old movie and declare, “We’re not worthy!” while bowing toward the person of worth. This phrase can serve as admiration or as a joke.

But it’s no joke that even faithful Christians can feel unworthy before God, undeserving of divine love and forgiveness. Specifically, we may wonder, “Why does God want to hang with a bad person like me?

The short answer is that God loves and forgives us, not because we’re so wonderful, but because love and forgiveness are hallmarks of God’s character.

God has loved each of us forever; as hard as it can be to believe, our creator God desires an eternal relationship with you. The phrasing in John 3:16 is vital, saying “Whoever” believes in Jesus will receive eternal life. Whoever. Not just “good” people. Not just those who mostly make right decisions. Whoever. That means you!

Jesus showed his love for us by entering the world through a lowly feed trough and exiting through the painful, disreputable cross. He lived in humility and shame for our sakes. As a result, Paul declares that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love (Romans 8:39).

Even if we believe in God’s love, it may be even harder to believe in God’s forgiveness for three reasons:

  1. God is holy, and our sins are not holy. We wonder, “How can God forgive our sins?”
  2. We know it’s hard to forgive others. We wonder, “Why would God want to forgive us?”
  3. We know it’s hard to forgive ourselves. We wonder, “Do we deserve forgiveness?”

The prophet Micah proclaimed God’s willingness to forgive sins, in Micah 7:18–19 (NIV):

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our wrongdoings into the depths of the seas.

Perhaps we can relate to God’s forgiving nature. When our daughter’s high school friend “Kala” convinced her to skip a study period to go to a nail salon, one consequence was that Kala had to apologize to our family before she could be reinstated as a passenger in our daughter’s car. Fearful of facing us, it took months before Kala came around to apologize. We parents were so willing to embrace her again, but we needed to hear her sorrow and regret before that wonderful moment of forgiving and restoring Kala. This is a small comparison to how God treats us when we sin and ask for forgiveness.

Maybe harder to understand is why God would forgive a bad person like me. We can draw from Isaiah 43:25 (NIV):

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

The key clause is “for my own sake.” This means God remembers our sins no more so that:

  • God’s character remains true, consistent, and unchanging.
  • God’s covenant promises are upheld.
  • God’s desire for an ongoing, saving relationship with us is affirmed.

We are forgiven because it’s God’s nature to forgive.

Then the third question: do we deserve forgiveness? In a word, NO! We cannot remove our sin except through the blood of Jesus. It is when God looks upon us through the lens of Christ that we can appear sparkling, radiant, and perfected, washed in the blood that fulfills God’s plan to offer reconciliation through Jesus.

The good news of why God wants to hang with a faulty person like me is that it reflects who God is, not who I am. What a relief! The loving and forgiving God always desires a relationship with me.