“I don’t deserve you…” It’s sadly a line that most of us have probably heard before. If it hasn’t been said to you, or if you haven’t said it yourself, you probably know some who believes it. In the world of relationships it’s a phrase that is heard or thought often. Granted, none of us deserve anything, it’s all because of Christ’s mercy and grace that we have what we have. I’m not talking about it that way.
Most often the “I don’t deserve you”, comes from a false sense of identity/humility and elicits a reaction in me along the lines of, ah, how shall I say it politely… “male cow poo”? The Lord redeemed us, why do we act and live as though He did not? We don’t deserve the Lord’s grace and forgiveness, but outside of a “God has been so good to me, I don’t deserve you, but am thankful you are in my life…” line, it’s not ok. Look at the 3 ways this phrase is usually used:
(1) The first “I don’t deserve you…” (IDDY) is used to manipulate. I’ve watched dating couples say this to each other – It’s been said to me. The Newsboy’s Truth and Consequences song gives a prime example of this:
“I’ve had lots of destructive relationships, and I know I don’t deserve someone like you anyway. It’s just, there’s this strange purity about you… almost a radiance. Maybe it comes from your religious beliefs, I don’t know….”
Sound familiar? At first glace what’s wrong with saying that? Or responding to it? Isn’t it good to be honest about where you have been before? Yes. But look deeper.
I don’t think the IDDY line is always intentionally used to manipulate, but it often turns that way. If they really believe they don’t deserve you, (in my opinion then they don’t, and I’ll explain why later) it is coming from a place of deep hurt, brokenness, insecurity and false humility in their own lives (this is the second reason which I’ll discuss in the next post).
When some says they don’t deserve you, what is your first response? Mine is usually, ‘Oh, that’s not true, we all have messed up!’ This kind of response usually elicits further protest that they ‘really don’t deserve you’. You would think they were trying to shoot themselves in the foot, or scare you away. But it doesn’t. 95 % of us stick around and if it is a romantic relationship, that IDDY is the first sign of trouble. Why?
Because as women, God created us to nurture, that is a huge part of our genetic make up. And the Lord created men to the same extent with a deep sense of protection. We stay around and enter into destructive relationships, because it goes against our nature to walk away. We want to help fix what is wrong with the other person and help show them how we see them and that they do have worth and deserve us. This is where the unintentional (and sadly, sometimes intentional) manipulation comes in.
We are trying to help and fix something that only the Lord can. Sure we can point this person to the Lord and encourage them to see themselves as the Lord sees them. But we can’t fix the brokenness. Only the Lord can do that. When we try to fix the other person’s brokenness we end up playing God, or even start manipulating back. We start wanting the other person to change for us not for the sake of changing so they can be a whole person in the Lord. The only one that can mend a broken heart is the maker of the heart. When we try to take the Lord’s place in the mending we essentially set ourselves up to be worshiped -taking God’s place- we can become as an idol in there lives.
I’m not saying run the next time you hear this line, but don’t just take it in. Think about it. If you say this, please think about the reason why you’re saying it.
(2) The second reason I think is the most common. You or the other person honestly doesn’t think they deserve the other person. You don’t believe yourself worthy – and it’s not coming from manipulation. It’s just how you feel about yourself in comparison with the other person. Nothing is wrong with feeling that way, right?