Is It OK to Love Myself?

Is it OK to love myself?

I’m the rope in a tug of war on this issue. Here’s why:  Godbillboard

My adulthood and new faith experience both developed at the same time as the find your inner self, please yourself, if it feels good do it, movements.  Christian culture reacted in many different ways- mostly with a mighty shove against self-aggrandizement.

1. To increase the scope of; extend.

2. To make greater in power, influence, stature, or reputation.

3. To make appear greater; exaggerate: aggrandize one argument while belittling another.

I was raised, as many of you know, with an abusive verbal onslaught branding my mind to believe that I was not only unlovable but a bad seed.  I knew then, and now, more than ever, that I was no angel. Yet the slant I’d been taught had me battling for years with these scriptures that seemed to put grace on one end of the rope and what seemed to be only raw truth on the other:

Rom. 12:3  For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

2Tim. 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy (all obviously very bad things)

Then I ran across James 2:8  “If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.”

Well I didn’t love myself.

And I thought that was ok, even scriptural.

So how could I ever obey this commandment to love my neighbor?

In one sense the question was answered with Matt. 7:12  “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them,”

But my early experience taught only self-protection, and I had little trust that I was worth being treated any way other than I’d known most of life.

I was one confused little chick.  OS11070

Then I experienced both Grace and Truth together in the salvation experience of Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

I finally more than got it – and knew with certainly that I was truly loved.  Now I had something to pass on to others.

Strong’s Concordance became dear as I searched the original meanings behind my questions.  That little word “love” had so many nuances, n this verse it derived from an obsolete, seldom used form of etheleo, eth-el-eh´-o, – to determine, to incline myself toward, to choose to prefer others (put them first), to intend to, to delight to, be disposed to please…

It confirmed what I’d known.  I could not previously shared what I did not have.

But wait!  I was not “just” to share this with my neighbor. I was to experience it, and revel in it myself (so that) I would be able to share it.

Am I making sense?  If I had just gone off and loved my neighbor as I loved myself at the time (even though I had recently begun a personal relationship with the Lord), it could not have been what God intended.  How could I love others in truth before I had an idea of what love was? I needed to accept God’s love, soak in it, experience it, and fill up with it, so it would overflow naturally.

I had my first answer.

YES! It not only was ok to love myself, God wanted me to love  who he loved (myself).  God commanded me to love myself (his creation).

 

Have you learned to love yourself?

 

About Delores Liesner

Author, Reviewer, Columnist
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4 Responses to Is It OK to Love Myself?

  1. Delores Liesner says:

    Ann, you were apparently blessed with that understanding from a young age. I agree, and finally understand that it is like the airline instruction to put the oxygen on yourself first so you can help your children. Lyndie and Kris, I also agree that believers are seldom taught a healthy self love from the scriptural point of view. Guilt and that selfish feeling Kris alluded to would lead a young mom to help all the children into oxygen first and then pass out and possibly leave them orphans. It would be truly sad if we left the key half of what Jesus described as one of the greatest commandments, left locked up and untapped.

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  2. Kris Liesner says:

    I think sometimes Christian culture can also teach you that if you love yourself or do anything for yourself, you are selfish. Fear of being selfish can lead to simply not taking care of yourself, which leads to burnout, illness, or even grumpiness, which keeps one from being able to continue to love and care for others.

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  3. That is one of Jesus’ hardest teaching and one we are not taught….

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  4. Ann Pissard says:

    Well, I have always believed that if you don’t LOVE yourself first, you can’t LOVE others. I’ve always been proud to hold up my hands and shout it! God gave me the power at 10 years old!
    I know to most it sounds egotistical, but it never did to me. It’s like saying If Mama ain’t happy, no one is! LOL

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