Lent Day 18: Is Loving Self Selfish?

Yesterday I mentioned that love must begin with the love of one’s self. This sounds a bit selfish, but Jesus highlighted this teaching over and over in his public ministry. What was he after with this teaching? Why did he put this love of self as superior over love of others?

Anna and I have been watching the TV show Friday Night Lights on DVD. We are in season 2 and are loving this show! There is a character named Tyra, a high school senior who comes from a broken home. She has never had a father figure in her life and has a very low view of herself. She lets the boys do whatever they want with her, and continually finds herself dating boys that treat her poorly. She meets an unpopular boy from the school who becomes her tutor. He is an honest, caring, respectful young man who treats Tyra with love and care. He inevitably falls for her and professes his desire to be her boyfriend. Tyra can’t handle it. She doesn’t know how to respond to genuine love and care. She has such a low view of herself that she rejects his love and keeps going back to boys that disrespect her and treat her poorly.

This idea of us loving ourselves first was so central to Jesus’ teaching because He knows that until we can accept ourselves as we are and not as we should be, then we will never be able to truly love Him or anyone else. The only way we will ever love ourselves properly is to believe what God says about us. “You are my Beloved Son (Daughter), in whom I am well pleased.” These words were not only the Father’s words to Jesus, but they are also His words to us. You and I are God’s Beloved! We are holy, blameless and beyond reproach in His eyes. (Col 1) As we begin to believe this we stop trying to control our own lives and allow God to make us whole.

2 replies on “Lent Day 18: Is Loving Self Selfish?”

Right on Brother! I would also add this; acceptance of all that we are good, bad and ugly, is crucial. Whatever we resist persists, or another way to put it, whatever we do not accept we project. So often we think humility is putting ourselves down, (we all have enough of the inner critic, that will only paralyze us if allowed). Humility is having the correct view of who we are. We are His, we are loved, we are lovable. Yet we know how far we stray and chose the wrong way, and how much we need Him. But we must always be gentle with ourselves, our weaknesses, failures, and shortcomings. Fighting against these things within will only give them more power. My weaknesses and sin are what bring me to Christ, and are our saving grace. Being thankful for them is the way to go, but not an easy thing to accept and do. Love is the only thing that will heal and bring us to wholeness. I would say it is allowing ourself to be loved and to be lovable because He has loved us first. So many of us have a strong inner critic, that we need to be bathed in His love, and to sink into His love. The older I get the more I see that it is all about being Loved by Christ. And we have a choice to let the Love of Christ consume us. Any of Brennan Manning’s books are great.

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