Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” not, “Blessed are those who love themselves.” It takes humility, self-restraint, and self-denial to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Pride puts self ahead of neighbor.
Self-love doesn’t show us what love is; Christ’s love does. It inspires and empowers us to lay down our life for our neighbor.
Our deep human need to be loved is only fulfilled when we open our heart to encounter God’s love which is greater than all our sin. We’ve been told that we need more self-love, but perhaps what we really need is to experience more of God’s love.
Because self-love is self-focused its easily deceptive. Because God’s love is Christ-focused, it leads us to truth and freedom. The second greatest commandment is often twisted to focus on self-love. Its intention, however, is to focus us on loving our neighbor.
Jesus loves me. I don’t need to focus on loving myself. His love is enough! Instead of trying to love yourself more, learn to experience and celebrate the amazing love that Jesus has for you.
The second greatest commandment is about neighbor-love, not self-love. It’s a command to love your neighbor more, not to love yourself more. Self-love is assumed. The focus on the 1st commandment is all out love for God; the 2nd is loving neighbors as much as you already do yourself.
If you didn’t already love yourself, you wouldn’t defend yourself or be offended if someone insults you. If you didn’t already love yourself, you wouldn’t get upset when you don’t get your way. If you didn’t already love yourself, you wouldn’t be so concerned about trying to make yourself happy. If you didn’t already love yourself, you wouldn’t spend money on things that make you feel better. If you didn’t already love yourself, you wouldn’t jump out of the way when you saw danger headed toward you.
Ongoing self-sedation often leads to degradation but self-surrender to the ever-living Jesus leads to jubilation. Unless we know the depths of our sin, we won’t know the inexpressible glory of our salvation.
Being humbled is no fun. The more we focus on self-love the harder it is to obey the Bible command to humble yourself.
The closer I get to the Light of Christ the more I’m aware of my sin and the more I realize how amazing is His grace and love for me. Preachers should proclaim the risen Jesus to people who don’t know about Him and encourage those who do know Jesus to listen to Him more than to them.