One of the lessons I’ve learned is that by loving myself I can become unloving.
During the years that many classes, conferences, and books stressed that learning to love ourselves was a key to unlocking pain, trauma, dysfunctional families, and the various types of abuse, I never once heard that loving one’s self could foster unloving others. Sadly, I treated a number of cases where self-love was the enemy of saving the marriage and having good mental health.
From a “me first” approach came many self-centered thoughts and behaviors, such as parents feeling they needed better partners to feel better about themselves and be fulfilled—both emotionally and physically. The different types of love were not kept in balance. Feeling what was good for them would be good for the children in the long run, many deceived Christians sought love in the arms of someone other than their husband or wife. The divorce rate soared.
The trauma their children had to go through when the family was destroyed often took years to work through—and in some cases it never happened. Later, the parents cried.
The contrast between self-love and God’s love has saved many marriages when understood. God’s love is essentially illustrated by the core Christian verse, John 3:16. It tells any willing heart that God the Father’s love is primarily concerned with other’s needs and that He desires open-hearted belief that is not self-centered. The center of the Father’s love was His Son, yet He was able to understand beyond His love to the condition mankind would be left in without His gift of Jesus.
“Lovers of themselves” are lovers that are “unloving” since they are primarily self-centered even in the love they give. This does not surprise experienced adults, and it certainly doesn’t surprise Almighty God. We must love ourselves in the right direction—caring for our needs and staying abreast of our spiritual life. But when that love crosses the line and becomes selfish, we need to steer clear of it.
Determine to be a lover with God’s love flowing through you. As we live a real and powerful love that is not selfish, we will become a channel of warm Christian love day by day and all the year through.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and jclk8888.)
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