God’s Eight Emotional Laws #8

#8 Self-Love

The last one of God’s Emotional Laws is perhaps the most controversial. It is Self-Love vs. Selfishness. The dictionary defines love as a strong deep feeling of attachment, fondness and great affection, a merciful attitude. Selfishness, on the other hand, is caring only for one’s own needs or desires, not generous. i.e. “I love me and only me and you are worthless.”  

While self-love certainly does not mean pleasing others at the expense of yourself, it also does not mean one should please oneself at the others’ expense. Putting your needs first – a fundamental tenet of self-love – is not only common sense; it is also essential if you want to do for others.  For example, if you do not fulfill your need to sleep because you want to “sacrifice yourself” for the good of others, within a few days you will collapse and others must do for you. And prior to your collapse, your fatigued doing may become another’s undoing. 

Safety instructions on an airplane say, “If you are traveling with someone who needs assistance putting on the oxygen mask, put yours on first and then assist the other person.” 

The truth is if you love yourself and take care of your needs and wants, being with others is more enjoyable and productive. You have more to give. For most people, self-love makes them more loving and able to be generous with others. Almost everyone I meet would be blessed if they had at least a little more self-love and kindness. 

Mark 12:31 says, Love your neighbor as yourself. This is certainly an injunction to love our neighbors. But, what if we hate, or as least strongly dislike, ourselves. Isn’t that the way we will treat our neighbor. People who treat themselves badly ultimately treat others badly as well. 

Closely allied to the concept of self-love, is the concept of self-forgiveness. If we have done something hurtful, we ask God to forgive us. Scripture is full of messages of hope and grace. The question to be asked is, “Will we hold onto resentment and hate towards ourselves for what we’ve done, or will we let God remove it and have forgiveness and love towards ourselves, as God does?” Being unwilling to release hardness of heart towards ourselves is one of the biggest errors we can make in our Christian walk. It blocks our love for God and our love for others!Lord, help me to see how much you love me. May I experience being beloved by you. Release me from my hardness of heart towards myself. Amen

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