I really can't think of a better example of love right there.
How can we ever be worthy of such a gift and sacrifice?
For a long time I felt unworthy of that gift. I felt unworthy to even talk with God or ask for help for things. I let myself become estranged from the one thing that would help me feel worthy. It was a loop that I couldn't escape. I went around and around. I felt hopeless and because of that, I never attempted to get out of the circular thinking.
Mosiah 4:7 I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.
I don't see any exceptions there. It is available for everyone! Even one such as I!
I know I'm not perfect and that sin is inevitable. Why can't I pay for it myself? Why can't I do the suffering? Why do I need the atonement?
I was reading a book, Believing Christ, that was recommended to me by a very good friend. There is a passage in it that says this:
A covenant is a contract, an agreement with terms and obligations binding upon both parties. In modern times we validate a contract and make it binding and legal by having both parties sign it. In ancient times covenants were validated and made binding by shedding the blood of a sacrificial animal. Hence, the Hebrew idiom for making a covenant is "to cut a covenant." The blood of the sacrificial victim was called "the blood of the covenant," and when it was shed, the terms of the contract were considered to be in force and binding upon both contracting parties.
Jesus is the sacrificial victim for the atonement. That's why he is referred to as the Lamb of God. By the shedding of this innocent blood, it makes the contract or covenant valid and binding. It seems a bit barbaric but that was how covenants were made back then. Christ had to be perfect because it called for a sacrifice. He never had to suffer those things because he never committed the sins in the first place. He had the ability to choose the suffering. We suffer because of the consequences of the inevitable sins we commit. We don't have the ability to choose to suffer or not.
People suffer for sins every day. Is that suffering enough to atone for the mistake? The Mosaic law was introduced to help people atone for their sins. It was a just way to pay for those sins because the world didn't have the atonement yet. An eye for an eye etc. If you cause someone to lose an eye and you lose yours in return, isn't that a sufficient punishment to satisfy the conditions of the sin? I believe we have two sets of consequences for sins we commit. There are earthly consequences and heavenly consequences. We experience the earthly consequences when we break the law. We have to pay fines or go to jail. The atonement is our heavenly get out of jail card but it isn't for free. As imperfect humans, we do ALL we can to atone for the sin we have committed. Let's say you did poke someone's eye out and you lose your eye in return. What about the loss of sight that you can never restore? You can't fully atone for what you did because you can't make that eye grow back. We can't cross that gap ourselves, that is where the atonement comes in. God requires of us to do all we can, then he will take care of the rest. He knows we can't do it all ourselves and he knows that we will never be perfect except through the atonement. If I feel unworthy of that gift, then I'm calling God a liar. Seems harsh doesn't it? He created us all in his image. We have God potential in all of us. If he created us to be that amazing and awesome, then we are. Simple! You are worthy of forgiveness and don't you forget it.
This stuff I've just spouted. It's what I believe in. I have faith that God will help me cross that gap. I trust that he will forgive me once I've done my part. I feel worthy of that forgiveness because He thinks I'm worthy.
That is love. He loves us unconditionally. Even in sin he loves us. He wants to keep his promises to us but we have to do our part.