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Jesus Never Said To "Love Yourself"

Jesus Never Told Us To Love Ourselves

Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)

Q:    Is there someone in your life that tempts you to show a side of yourself that you wouldn't ever want Jesus to see if He were standing in front of you?

Q:    Is there someone in your life that you would rather not help, even in a time of difficulty - justifying that they either deserve it, or are simply reaping what they have sown?

Chances are that if you were being totally honest, then you answered, "Yes." Truth be told, we all fit into this category at some point.  And that's because we don't love other people in the way we love "Ourselves."

Jesus was asked by a Lawyer, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" A simple question was met with a simple answer; when Jesus said, "You shall love the LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (See Mt. 22:37-39)

The first thing we should know is that when Jesus told us to "Love our neighbor as ourselves," He never told us to, "Love ourselves." Nor is a commandment.   In fact, nowhere in Scripture whether it is in the Old Testament or the New Testament does it say to "Love yourself."  The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of 66-books by 40 authors that spanned over 1500-years, and not one of these scriptures instructs us to love ourselves.  

Q:    Why is that?
A:    Because we naturally and instinctively already love ourselves.

We all seem to take care of our own needs - we feed our tummies, and wash ourselves and pretty much make sure we're taken real good care of.  These things alone testify to our "Self-love."

In fact the Bible pretty much tells us that most of us love ourselves too much!  

Q:    So what was Jesus saying to us?
A:    Well, to loosely paraphrase it, "Hey, just love your neighbor as you love yourself.  Treat others in the same way you treat yourself, because I know you love yourself."

Q:    So, is that what we are being taught in today's society?
A:    No, in fact according to today's Psychological therapy, "Loving yourself is the greatest love of all." (*

But this type of love that Psychology speaks of is a "Selfish love," and it's definitely not the love that the Bible teaches us - we're told to Love God, and then to "Selflessly Love" others by taking our eyes off ourselves.  But we can't do this in and of ourselves - it takes God.

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1John 4:8 (NKJV)

One need only look to the Scriptures to identify the Biblical truth that love doesn't exist apart from God.  This simply means, that true love can only be given by those who know God, and have a relationship with Him.  We possess this "Agape" love when we abide in His love and He abides in us.

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. We love Him because He first loved us.1 John 4:16, 19 (NKJV)

Hey Christian, I want to encourage you today to love others in the same way that God loves you - without limitations.  I want to encourage you to love others in the same way that you love yourself.  Selflessly love others by putting them first as you serve them; put their needs above your own, which means treating them as if they're your own needs, and allow God's love to be manifested through your actions.  Don't put a limit on what God wants to do through you today.  As you seek Him and His desires for others, you will be empowered to look beyond their actions and their worthiness.

STUDY QUESTION: What can we glean from the Scriptures with regards to our ability to love others?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to allow God to love others through you?  Is there anyone in your life that you would not allow God to love unconditionally?

APPLICATION: Find those who you have been unwilling to love and start to pray for opportunities to allow God to love them through you.

Father, Thank You for loving me while I was yet a sinner.  Thank You for sacrificing Your Son as an act of Your selfless love for the whole world.  Help me to love those who I find to challenge me to be selfish in this area.  Lord, I confess that I cannot do it apart from You, but also that I can do all things through You who strengthen me.  In Jesus precious name, amen...

Be blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000