Paul's Passing Thoughts

Loving Ourselves

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 30, 2017

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!

Andy

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5 Responses

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  1. Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on March 30, 2017 at 10:34 AM

    And this is exactly why there is no justice in the church. Justice demands punishment for not valuing life. Justice is all about righteousness indignation for disrespecting others and their value.

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  2. Ken said, on March 30, 2017 at 6:35 PM

    You might think differently if you had attended a church under Willow Creek influence!

    When Jesus commanded us to ‘love God and our neighbour as ourselves’, he gave two commandments and not three. There is no command to love ourselves, we do this quite naturally! Now there is a legitimate loving of self in the sense of making provision for everyday needs – no man hates his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it. This natural inclination is to be redirected to others, for example, a wife. The good you would want for yourself you should want and try to provide for others. A side-effect of this particularly in marriage is that you may also benefit from this yourself (he who loves his wife loves himself) but this is not the purpose, rather the benefit of the wife.

    The danger of the Willow Creek version manifests itself in building your self-esteem, where self is the problem. It becomes a divine mandate to put yourself first, rather than esteeming others more highly. “Say yes to yourself”. Church becomes the place where you get your needs met. You will even hear people say ‘you cannot love your neighbour unless you love yourself’, whereas in the sense I am talking about it if you do love yourself you will be unable to love your neighbour. You cannot simultaneously put yourself and your needs first and those of others.

    It is self-love that is behind the various forms of abuse that go on in churches. The abuser loves himself and hates his neighbour.

    It is easy to talk at cross-purposes on this issue and I hope you don’t think I am unnecessarily nit-picking, but this self-love doctrine can lead to churches or believers wholly introverted into being about what you can get out of it (your best life now) rather than what you put into it.

    I’ve seen enough of this that when anyone starts talking about their self-worth, an amber warning light goes on.

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  3. Kim White said, on March 31, 2017 at 12:09 AM

    I replied to Ken but it didn’t post. I was saying that I think when you devalue yourself you devalue the sacrifice of Christ. We are more valuable than anything to God. We don’t need false humility we need a mature self value that will recognize others value and will result in more love not selfishness. Just like we don’t use our liberty in Christ as an excuse for the flesh we don’t use our self respect for our own pleasures. Have you noticed how childten that aren’t taught self respect don’t respect others?It’s probably a similar principle.

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  4. some guy said, on March 31, 2017 at 4:35 PM

    Even loving others equally to yourself is tyranny. It cannot be done, nor should it.

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  5. John said, on April 5, 2017 at 8:23 AM

    Great article, Andy.

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