I commented on the post on how to love ourselves, and glowing scenes replied. I commented again but still had lots of questions rolling in me, and a big part of the question was “Should we love ourselves too or only love our neighbours?”
So I thought, why don’t I read my Bible, pray, research on this and really find out how it should be?
First of all, is there a place in the Bible that tells us to love ourselves? No, there’s no specific instruction in that respect but Matthew 22:39(Amplified) says-
“love your neighbour as you DO yourselves.”
As you do what to yourselves is the question? Obviously, love is the topic there so it’s as we DO love ourselves.
Now, if I tell you to sing to me as you sing to yourself, I am assuming that you already sing to yourself…
So if Jesus says you should love others as you love yourself, what is the assumption there? (You can answer this for yourself)
Another question there is, do we indeed love ourselves like that passage assumes that we do? And if we do, what indeed is the right way to love ourselves?
It is however important that we recognise the kind of love the Bible refers to in Matthew 22:29, so that we don’t take things out of context.
There is a love which entails pride and selfishness and idolatry and which prevents us from becoming saved because we are too proud to submit to Jesus Christ. A love of the kind of life the world gives. This is the kind of love Jesus refers to in John 12:25 when he says…
“Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.”
Loving our neighbour’s is also mighty important but the love this article will dwell on here is love of ourselves, of who we are in Christ, of the person God has made us in Him. We cannot separate love from the God who is love Himself.
I think we have to understand that when God refers to love, loving our neighbour as ourselves, He does not refer to the kind of love that the world posits. He refers to the God kind of love and where can we find this? 1corinthians 13. (whip out your Bibles dears)
And that is the love I want to dwell on today; the 1Corinthians 13 kind of Love. The God kind of love.
If you love yourself with the God kind of love, all the attributes of the God kind of love applies to you.
And the God kind of love would entail our loving ourselves the way God loves us. He loves us like crazy but hates the sin in us and at the same time prunes us to be better.
He loves us even while we were yet sinners but also desires to see us leave sin behind and grow in fullness in Him.
If we love ourselves even as He loves us, if we imitate Christ in the way He loves us, do you think we would self-hate ourselves the way we do?
Do you think that people will have suicidal thoughts, low self esteem issues and be depressed if they love themselves the way God wants them to?
Don’t you think we will then see the amazing and perfect workmanship that God sees us to be?
So, yes I believe that we have to love ourselves, but not with the worldly kind of love that places us above every other person, I refer to loving yourself with the God kind of love in 1Corinthians 13 so we can give same to our neighbour.
Now, if you are to replicate the God kind of love, you won’t self hate who you are now, you would love you as God loves the who you are now, but also love you enough to continue to prune you to be better.
I also found out that a big part of the controversy regarding self love is the fact that people think that self loving ourselves makes us selfish. But like I have said before, the love we refer to here is the God kind of love and that love isn’t selfish. As a matter of fact, you are not loving yourself like you should by God’s standards if you put yourself first…
So yes, if I love myself, with the God kind of love, that love would not put me before all others.
Loving yourself also doesn’t mean placing your own interest above all others… it is learning to love you as God says you should so you can also give out such love to others.
If I am not kind to me, I won’t be kind to you.
If I am not patient with me, I won’t be patient with you.
If I don’t love me with the God kind of love I won’t love you with the God kind of love.
It doesn’t take a genius to decipher that I can’t give you what I don’t have. I cannot love you if I do not love me. Why? Because I don’t even know what love is supposed to be.
It is just the way it works.
So look at that verse closely…Love your neighbour as you DO yourself…
Don’t you think that that we have to love ourselves (remember not the worldly love but God’s love) before we can adequately love our neighbour too?
If you do not have the God kind of self-love for yourself, how can you give it out to others?
If I am to love my neighbour the way I love myself, but then I do not know how to love myself, if I hate myself and who I am, do you think that Jesus would want me to love my neighbour with that kind of love?
Don’t I have to have an encounter with the God kind of love first?
The world thinks that loving yourself means that you should place yourself above others but God kind of love says you won’t “Be me first”.
So who will you place first then?
For me? It means placing God first. I will love myself enough to want the best for me and seek to place the interest of my heavenly father above my own because His thoughts of me are better than my own thoughts anyway.
I will love myself enough to place God first because He knows what’s best for me… Ultimately, placing Him first does me good and good is what I will want for myself if I love myself the way God says I should (I hope this makes sense)
So to me, loving myself is not being classified in line with what the world defines. I will strive to love myself but only with the God kind of love and the focus doesn’t end on me, I also love myself so that I can also give this love out to my neighbours.
I am not thinking with the way the world thinks when I say I will love myself, I am thinking in line with the kind of love God wants me to have in me, for me and for others.
This also means that I won’t be selfish, I won’t seek to insist on my own rights, I will put my neighbour’s right above mine? Why? Because all those make me a better person and I love myself enough to want myself to be a better person.
I love myself the way God loves me, enough to hate the sin in me but not to hate myself and enough to want to make myself a better person the only way I can which is through Jesus Christ.
I imitate Christ in the way He loves me and not what the world preaches about loving me.
I love me as 1corinthians 13 says and not as the world thinks.
This about sums all what I have been trying to say…
“You must love one another out of obedience to God, which cannot be done outside of experiencing God’s love yourself in the first place and accepting what that love reveals about yourself.” ~from http://www.gotquestions.org/self-love.html#ixzz3EJEHccIS
For more on loving yourself God’s way, you can read this article from Joyce Meyer – http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=worthless_worthy_how_do_you_see_yourself
You can also read this article I stumbled on online – http://achristian.wordpress.com/2006/12/11/why-does-the-bible-say-to-love-yourself/
Prayer: Thank You God for bringing your word to me today. Thank You for your love for me. Help me see myself the way You see me. Help me love myself the way You love me. I can’t give any love away until I first receive it for myself. I receive Your love. And help me to love my neighbours in the way you want me to, In Jesus name, Amen.
Did today’s Rhema for today make any sense at all?
What do you think about self love? What do you think about loving ourselves with the God kind of love versus the world kind of love?
Do you think we are even supposed to love ourselves at all?
Do leave a comment below and let’s discuss.
It’s a Bible study, let’s all learn from each other some more.
Happy Indepence day fellow Nigerians!
And oh, just a few things…
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