In Christian circles we like to talk about the love of God a lot. This is a great thing because it is such an important part of the Christian faith. However, one way our thinking about this topic can run a bit off track is when we get our contemporary self esteem ideals tangled up in it all. Although we probably wouldn't articulate it so brazenly we can start to feel like God loved us for our lovableness or goodness. Romans 5 brings us a reality check-
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
How incredible this is! Stop and think about that passage for a moment. Salvation was not a matter of God doing favor for his caring buddies, it is God making a huge sacrifice on for his enemies who have done him wrong over and over and over again. That God would work to save us while we were still sinners and rebels should strike a blow to pride and inflated senses of our own goodness. While knowing that we were undeserving rebels might make a bit of a blow to our self esteem, it helps us realize how much we are loved. Knowing how much we are loved is something more precious than any feeling good about ourselves.