The teachings of the Old Testament law, and Paul in the New Testament, agreed with the teachings of Jesus when he said that I should love my neighbour as myself. In this blog, I want to explore how we can love ourselves in the right sort of way without selfishness, but nevertheless treat our own bodies, minds and and interests as important.
Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbour, you will fulfil the requirements of God’s law.
For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfils the requirements of God’s law.Romans 13:8-10 NLT
I would suggest that unless we care for ourselves, we find it hard to care for other people. There is a fine line between selfishness, and caring for ourselves. To be selfish means ignoring others and treating our own needs as paramount. But we can care for and nourish our whole beings without ignoring the needs of those around us.
Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves for mistakes or bad choices we have made. We may be blaming ourselves for things which were not really our fault. Forgiving ourselves is as important as forgiving other people. If we fail to forgive ourselves then we can’t love ourselves properly and this affects the way we treat other people.
Look after our bodies
We need to look after our bodies, and our state of health, if we are to truly love ourselves. This means not over-eating or taking harmful substances into our bodies. Things like smoking or drinking too much alcohol may not be wrong in themselves, but if they are harmful to our bodies then we are failing to look after the bodies which God gave us.
Looking after our mental health
If we suffer from mental health issues such as depression, then it is important that we are honest about it and seek help.
Why is it important to look after and love ourself? Paul said that the whole of God’s law was summed up in the commandment to love my neighbour as myself. But unless I look after myself and love the body and mind that God has given me, I cannot meaningfully love my neighbour as myself.