Should Christians Love Themselves?

woman hugging herselfLet’s face it. We live in a narcissistic, selfie-absorbed culture. It’s all about me – my thoughts, my dreams, my fulfillment, etc. However, Christians operate under a different paradigm. We are not our own; we’ve been brought with a price. I confess that whenever I see someone who claims Christianity also adopt an “I love me” attitude, I question if they really understand what Christianity is all about.

But then I consider Jesus greatest command, to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt 22:37-39)

Hmmm, love your neighbor as yourself.

In the book The Kingdom of God, a compilation of essays on various aspects of the kingdom of God, Dr. Anthony Bradley, associate professor of Christian ethics and theology at Kings College, offers a good perspective in his essay “The Kindgom Today.” He states,

To ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ demands that we love ourselves well. To love oneself well is to do what is necessary to sustain one’s life and to fulfill one’s responsibility to preserve one’s human dignity, holiness, chastity, property, and reputation and to bring glory to God the Creator.

While this may seem like a narcissistic self-love kind of thing, Bradley puts this love in perspective. Well ordered love flows from God and should be the parameter by which Christians consider what it means to truly love. It is only through the lens of how God has loved us that we can love well, as John states, “we love him because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). This affects the application of God’s kingdom work now in which we humans serve as the instrument. Continue reading