Does the Bible ever state that to love ourselves is a sin? I don’t believe so. In fact it never even suggests that we are to love others MORE than ourselves. We are to love others AS MUCH AS we love ourselves.
“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it…” ~ Ephesians 5:29
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Galatians 5:14
“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,’ ye do well:” ~ James 2:8
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” ~ Romans 13:8
“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:9
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Matthew 5:43-45
“ ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ ” ~ Matthew 22:36-40
To love yourself is to recognize your own value. If you do not recognize your own worth then you cannot recognize the value of others.
There is application here for just about all of the problems we see in the institutional church. What is the historical orthodoxy? What has been taught about man? The metaphysical premise is man’s depravity. Man is taught that self-loathing is a virtue. Believers have been discouraged from striving for obedience to the law. The law has been replaced with orthodoxy (tradition). This is the definition of anomia; lawlessness. Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that by replacing the law with their traditions that they made the law useless. The result would be that love would grow cold.
This is what such thinking produces. And this is exactly what we are seeing in this day. Is it any wonder? If one is taught that they cannot keep the law because of their own depravity, how can he possibly love himself? Why are there so many cases of divorce, depression, and mental illnesses found in the institutional church? Why do we act shocked when we learn about these sorts of things happening in the institutional church? For the believer, he is taught that an ever-increasing awareness of sin brings about an ever-increasing knowledge of God’s holiness. The Christian life is to be one of dwelling on sinfulness; not on value. How can we expect justice for sexual abuse and other physical or spiritual abuses? If one believes he has no value, how can he possibly love others? Others have no value. Others then are nothing more than objects to be used for one’s own end.
Do you realize that if we spent our time focusing on loving others, we wouldn’t have to worry about breaking any laws? Think about that for a second. When it comes right down to it, isn’t the breaking of any law really a violation of the rights of another? It says, “I don’t value you.” Why don’t we steal? Is it because God said, “thou shalt not steal?” Or is it because we recognize that we would not want our things stolen? This ought to reveal our own sense of self-worth, which flies in the face of religious orthodoxy in direct opposition to the notion of total depravity. And in recognizing this self-worth, we then project that onto others. We recognize the value of others because we recognize our own value. God’s law teaches us that we have value!