Does “Love your neighbor as yourself,” promote self-love?

“Love your neighbor as yourself,” assumes that we already love ourselves. Just look at all the time, attention, and care we humans lavish on ourselves. Jesus used self-love as an example of how to love others, not as a command to focus on self.

Take care of your neighbor’s needs like you take care of your own. Overlook your neighbor’s faults the way you overlook your own. Celebrate your neighbor’s achievements as much as you celebrate your own. The more we focus on helping and loving others, the happier we’ll be.

Self-love is an example of how to love others, not a command to focus on self. Self-love is lot more popular than self-denial.

The more we focus on self, the more likely we are to make self a personal idol. Self-love too often leads to self-deification causing people to replace God with self.

Self-love’s a sign of the last days. “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves.” 2 Timothy 3:1. When self-love is unchecked by loving your neighbor, it leads to selfism.

Jesus assumes that people already love themselves. Instead of commanding self-love, I think Jesus meant: Give your neighbor some of the focus and concern that you have for yourself.

As humans, we are naturally self-centered beings. Perhaps we don’t need to learn to love ourselves more, but to deny ourselves. Selfism teaches that people are basically good, but the Bible states, “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

True self-care isn’t self-pampering. It’s striving to align your desires, emotions, and behaviors with God.

Which will we choose–God’s love or self-love? God’s love isn’t quantifiable–at least not by me. Isaiah said it best: “I am undone.” To get a glimpse of the greatness of God’s love we need to see our sin as the horrific rebellion against God that it is and not deny it or trivialize it. Seeing my sin from God’s perspective leaves me undone, like Isaiah in chapter six. Then when love covers my sin with mercy, grace, and the blood of Jesus, I experience undeserved and unquantifiable pardon, peace, purpose, power, and provision and all my heart can do is to continually praise and thank the living, resurrected Jesus!

Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA on Pexels.com

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences in non-traditional church, called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." If you need encouragement, search for: Elephants Encouraging The Room and/or check out my Amazon author page. Thank you!
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