Why does the bible say to love yourself?

“Love yourself”. Did you get a negative reaction inside yourself? Did the word “egotistical” come to mind?

I didn’t mean be self-centered, I meant: respect yourself, protect yourself, care for yourself. And do you know what? It’s OK!

The bible says to love yourself:

  1. Leviticus 19:18 (OLD Testament)
    “Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself.
  2. Matthew 19:19
    Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “
  3. Matthew 22:39
    A second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’
  4. Mark 12:31
    The second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
  5. Luke 10:27
    The man answered, ” `You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
  6. Romans 13:9
    For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting–and any other commandment–are all summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  7. Galatians 5:14
    For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  8. James 2:8
    Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s royal command found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Hurt people, who have had little or no love in their lives sometimes read the bible and see only the anger of God, or they see the self-depreciating language and then decide that it was God’s will that they were not loved and that somehow a God of love thinks it’s ok that they were disrespected in their lives.

I remember clearly when the truth fell “into” me and I suddenly understood that my parents were meant to love me – that was their role in my life. Because they didn’t fulfill their role properly DID NOT mean that God thinks it’s ok for me to go through life without love.

I cried, because I understood that so much of my self-awareness and awareness of God was flawed – I had discovered that He loves me and He wants the best for me… and that my past experiences were not what He had in mind for me. Nor for you!

Some people might think that we should love others and we should quietly disrespect ourselves. If we do this, what message would we send to the people around ourselves… that they should disrespect themselves? But I thought we were loving them and building them up?

How can we have love for them if we do not respect ourselves?

Do you know these sayings?

  • If a child grows up in an environment of criticism, the child will learn to criticize.
  • If a child grows up in an environment of hate, the child will learn to fight.
  • If a child grows up in an environment of shame, the child will learn to feel guilty

If you are critical, if you’re ready to fight, if you always feel guilty… then those saying can give you an insight into what your home life might have been like.

But it’s not all lost. There is still time to grow and heal… these sayings might give you an insight into how to go forward in your life:

  • If a child grows up in a praising environment, the child will learn to appreciate.
  • If a child grows up in an encouraging environment, the child will learn to be confident.
  • If a child grows up in an environment of understanding, the child will learn to be patient.
  • If a child grows up in a just environment, the child will learn to be fair.
  • If a child grows up in a secure environment, the child will learn to trust.
  • If a child grows up in an approving environment, the child will develop self-esteem.
  • If a child grows up in an environment of acceptance and friendship, the child will learn to find love in people.

If you already have those characteristics in your day to day life, then that’s wonderful. But for the rest of us, we can think about how to change our environment and then see ourselves change.

Is it too late? Are we too old? No. Inside of us we might actually be feeling and behaving like lost children – so it’s not too old to grow up into strong men and women of God who have kindness and trust and love to give to the people around us!

If we will love ourselves, if we create in our world a feeling of praising, encouraging, understanding, security, approval, acceptance and friendship – then it makes sense that as we grow up into our manhood or womanhood… then we will in turn become appreciative, confident, confident, fair, trust, we will have good self-esteem and we will be able to find love in the people around us and TO GIVE LOVE to the people around us.

drinking_water_glass.jpgSo then, in order to love those around us, we must first love ourselves. In order to recover and heal, we must love ourselves.

This is the very first place you can begin to find love: yourself.

When you have begun to respect yourself, have good boundaries for yourself, when you get to know what you like and enjoy and DO those things – that’s when life get’s a whole lot easier… and that’s when you can turn to another hurting person and lead that person to heal and life.

If you want to read more, I recommend these posts as well

God bless you! I hope you leave a comment and share yourself, learn from others and grow.

Extra! (2 June 2010)

There is a wonderful debate in the comments section below. I love hearing from people when they share. Together we can develop a rich understanding of the bible by hearing each other’s point of view. So let me share another scripture with you which shows how you are meant to be treating yourself…

For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it… – Eph 5:29

ARE you nourishing and carefully protecting and cherishing your own flesh – your body? Paul absolutely expects you to be taking care of yourself. He says “no man” would hate himself.

And the reason we are to nourish our own bodies, is so that we (men) can love our wives.

Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church – Eph 28-29

The expectation that Paul has is that you ALREADY  nourish yourself, and he wants you to nourish your wife. And the expectation in those 8 verses I quoted at the beginning of this article, is that you already love yourself (nourish, cherish, protect) and now God wants you to do the same for others.

But some people were not taught by their parents to nourish themselves. Perhaps they suffered abuse and no longer value themseves, perhaps some people hate themselves after that kind of experience.

No. God expects you to be “above only and not beneath” and the head and not the tail, and to love yourself and Paul expects you to nourish, cherish and protect yourself… and ALSO to do the same for others.

Remember the parable of the talents? If we use what we have received, He gives more. So AS you love yourself, go ahead and love others. A recent study shows a 40% decline in emphathy… what that means is that modern people have harder hearts than people living 20 years ago. So we have less to give.

But that is not God’s plan. Don’t use drugs, don’t go to churches where you feel controlled, don’t let people speak badly of you. Instead. Nourish yourself, cherish yourself, protect yourself… and then do the same for others.

God bless you on your journey to being the head and not the tail, to nourishing and protecting yourself!  Hallelujah!

Keep on reading

Some Christians want God to snap His fingers and heal them and they refuse to get help. Is this the right approach? Maybe take a moment to read my post: Should Christians get counselling for healing?

For further reading maybe try this post Emotional healing… what’s it like? or read some of my other posts on healing. I have written a companion post that you might benefit from reading: How to fill up the lonely hurt inside.  Get into the discussion. Share your experiences. Help someone. Receive help from someone too perhaps.


These posts might also help you:

and also try

Or try some other posts that I wrote:

These are posts about growing and forming deeper relationships that let us feel connected and warm inside:

God loves you!

Send me a Facebook friend request, I would like to be your friend and maybe connect you with other people who are also walking this path with you.

Please leave a comment on this page if you’d like? Use a pretend name if you’re not sure you want to reveal your actual name.

112 responses to “Why does the bible say to love yourself?

  1. When i ‘d talk about that most people guests are actually aceded to be able to can be found inside a fabulous area along with very many wonderful those with worthwhile points.

  2. Do you know how many times I’ve heard and read statements about the Bible saying we should love ourselves, quoting the very verses you have in this post? Countless! Surely, you realize that saying we should love our neighbors AS ourselves is not the same as saying we should love our neighbors AND ourselves! The former assumes we ALREADY love ourselves, The Bible isn’t telling us to love ourselves, because it doesn’t have to. Note how none of the verses state that we should love ourselves as our neighbors.

    This “love yourself” mantra is just part of a much wider, me centered philosophy which is what the humanist agenda is all about: to diminish God and enlarge ourselves.

    • I have suffered with self-hatred. Not ever person naturally or sinfully love ourselves. God does want everyone to have a healthy love of self that is respectable and not self distrusting. Self-hatred limits people’s ability to love other in a healthy ways if loving our self is amounts to nothing. Loving GOD would be even harder since part of loving GOD comes with believing what HE say s true about ourselves instead of idealizing the image and opinion we have on ourselves over HIS Truth. In Psalms, David constantly shows a self love that He had for himself, in which was healthy since His self love did not become prideful. David understands that GOD created David, and through having self love on how GOD created David, David glorified GOD’S work on David. David’s self love motivated himself to love and obey GOD a majority of times throughout David’s life as a human. Hence, self hatred and deprecation is a limiter to love others because a person with self hatred can become jealous, envious, and covetous. A person with pride can become jealous in the same way, but a person with pride wants to see one self above others whereas a person with self hatred wants to become something that his or her self would like. Pride and self hatred both shows insecurity in where the view of a health self image is threatened by others. Self hatred and deprecation, as well as being prideful, is a limiter to GOD’S Will in our life if we idolize more on our destructive opinion and have what GOD does not want us to have, such as the spirit of timidity when being around people. A health self image encourages people to love and serve others because of the confidence in GOD’S work in themselves, in which helps people to love the ways GOD created other people.

      So, Yes, the Bible does reveal that need of healthy self love. GOD has love for HIMSELF to know that HE is GOD, and HE is GOOD, in which HE does need respect from others who where created through GOD. Even through the WORDS of CHRIST JESUS, HE displays self love when a woman poured perfume oil on CHRIST’S feet and kiss them when one of the teaches of the law who invited CHRIST JESUS did not greet JESUS with love and welcome. But CHRIST confident self image in GOD was not a limiter, but a motivator to love and serve others when CHRIST washed the feet of HIS Disciples. Self-love corresponds with the trust on self image. And to trust and have confident in the image GOD sees us and not be idolizers of our on destructive image, in which disobeys GOD just like a prideful image also disobeys GOD.

  3. Hey Mark, I really want to thank you for your posts, ive read several now and every one has given me something that I need to hear right now.
    I love that people respond in the comments and share their thoughts, appreciation, or testimony. and coming across this couldnt have came at a better time! Its inspiring to see the truth and emotion that go into the comments.
    My heart has just been breaking for the people in Paris, and the rest of the world right now for that matter. Reading these comments are a great reminder of how resilient people are capable of being under extreme circumstances.
    God Bless You

  4. Hi Mark

    Great article. For what it’s worth as someone who has had many struggles as a result of childhood abuse, I wanted to try and summarise what I think many may be trying to say……..

    1. God in essence is pure love (as well as many other things) – a love beyond our understanding if you have ever tasted it or had it ignited in your heart.
    2. He gave His son because of His love for his children.
    3. Jesus showed us the Fathers love and taught us what God’s love truly is to model and share with each other. (‘fallen man/woman’s earthly version of love is not what Gods true essence of love is).
    4. We can only love another as ourselves IF we know what Gods love truly is like. How can we give something that we have never experienced for ourselves? For many (me included), we use a version of love our parents or life has taught us (fallen man/woman’s version of earthly love). It’s usually a love that is conditional or has guilt or condemnation or blackmain with it – this is not Gods love.
    5. To love another as Jesus taught us is limited by what we have in our earthly capacity (or experience). However, when we take away all the man/satan made conditions of guilt, unworthiness, low self esteem and lies we have grown up with, we get to reconnect with the true version of love God has put in our hearts and is blessing us with each day.
    6. My experience of God is that He loves me unconditionally (mess up’s included). Jesus died to wipe the slate clean – ‘it is finished’. I don’t go out to commit sin deliberately because I love God too much to do anything that would cause him sorrow and I know He knows whats best for me to be happy. However, I know He knows my design flaws and will never beat me up over them. I don’t need to perform, achieve or be more than I can be…..God knows my heart and mind better than I do. Those things are not love. He may teach me things some days to improve me and sometimes it can be hard – like learning to walk. However, He never once abandons or hurts me or condemns me…….He is always encouraging me…….Only Satan and mankind will try to convince me otherwise in my mind or life.

    I am learning to ask God to heal all the lies and scars that have been inflicted by those who have never known love themselves ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’. We are all victims of lies and Satans work. The good news is God has re-united us with Him spiritually through Jesus. He has rescued us. He has totally forgiven and forgotten our imperfections. He’s loving us no matter what.

    Corinthians 13 verse 4 IS God describing what His version of Love is. It is the Love He is giving us each moment of each day that He wants us to know is how He holds us in His heart. This is God’s love He wants us to know and understand is how we are to love our selves and others….”Gods love is patient, His love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Gods love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Gods love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
    Gods love never fails”.

    We need to know what love truly is and begin to see ourselves as God sees us before we can begin to love others as our selves. I don’t find it easy to see myself as God sees me BUT I know I have been lied to and taught toxic, self destructive things about myself that I have adopted as my own……I ask God each day to show me the lies and poison and to replace them with His love, so I might bring Him joy in knowing I see how much He loves me. There is no selfishness in accepting Gods love to enable His truth to become manifest and in turn, to share His love in me with others here on earth…..’Father it is finished’ Thank you Jesus. I didn’t deserve what you did but I am justified by your love and set free in knowing ‘you are in me and I am in you until the end of the age’. Bless you Jesus xxx

    • Thank you for sharing Jonathon David. You have a lot of wisdom and experience to share. Have you thought of writing a blog? That way your lessons are available for decades to come… long after you have forgotten what you learned and how you learned it.

      God bless you,

      • Hi Mark!

        Greetings from the UK!

        Thanks for your reply – I am sat here having a little laugh to myself. I have been praying about whether I should write a blog and funnily enough posted on your site (because I thought your articles were excellent) and said to God, ‘if anyone finds what I have to say about you of value, then help me see it”…..LOL!

        I’m not working at the moment, am living on pure Faith which is actually not that hard when you totally let go of your own desires for control and trust God! I’m chasing projects in the corporate world (not really my interest anymore) and would really like to write!! I’d forgotten I had posted on your site and I really appreciate your response and encouragement – we never realise how we can touch each other’s lives as humans do we?

        The enemy has been having one heck of a session with me this past few months (perhaps that should be years!) and I wonder if maybe I’m getting all the attention because he knows I can forward the Kingdom of God in a similar manner to yourself! 🙂

        I think the world is short of people who can make God relevant and real for today and your posts were real and excellent. Perhaps the time has come for me to enjoy a little walk out of the boat! LOL!

        Any tips very welcome. I can set up a word press site etc so that’s no problem – do you shield your personal details given there are those who are keen to destroy Christian websites etc? Do you rely on donations?

        Very best wishes and blessings to you Mark


  5. self esteem is no where in the Bible…..Love God, Love Man….have faith that God will take care of all your needs. Self love is self preservation….God says Love is laying down our lives for others….No where does God say to love ourselves….He says love others as we love ourselves….because we got love for us down…even if we are bad at it and chose to love ourselves destructively instead of constructively. We still love us more than we love others.

    • Hello

      Permit me to challenge you on this. But to do that let me show another scripture in another context.

      The bible says a man should love his wife as he loves his own body. Generally speaking men do not take care of their bodies, and women tend to take a lot of care of themselves.

      But God says for a man to take care of his wife as if she were his own body. If a man goes out late, drinks, sleeps around etc then he is not loving his own body… and he wont love her. Agreed?

      But if a man takes care of himself, and then he commits to having the same care for his wife as he has for himself… then thats good for her. Clearly – I thinki – God is asking men to care for themselves AND for their wives. God doesnt want men to be slobs with themselves and then mistreat his wife, because he mistreats himself.

      So in that same way, if we love ourselves… and Im not talking about pride or being selfish, Im talking about having self care – then God also asks us to love others in that same way… to have care for them too.

      I think it goes without saying… but let me say it again… Im not advocating narcism, or selfishness or pride. Im talking about a healthy state of mind, a healthy desire to protect our bodies and have good friends around us. Just healthy self love… and then give that same level of love to others around us.

      God bless you!

  6. I think we love ourselves too much. God is telling us to love our NEIGHBOR. When my husband says “that dress looks nice on you'” and I respond with “No, it doesn’t” some would consider this as not loving myself…I am self hating me….no, that is showing I do not love my husband enough to put his comments before my own destructive emotions. Now, turn the tables. I say to my girl friend “that dress looks nice on you.” she responds, “No. it doesn’t” How do I feel with her comment? Do I feel loved, trusted, encouraged? No. I feel horrible. But if she had put me first and even though she feels self destructive she responded. “Thank you” It would have changed the world. No one teaches a child to be selfish….we teach them to share….That is because we love ourselves and want what we want…even if that want is Self negativity for the sake of that is what we like.

  7. Mark I just wanted to praise God for bringing me here. I sure had an eye opener. My sister and I was raised by our Grandparents and ma. Ma divorced my dad when I was around 1. She was pregnant with my sister. Even though we lived in the same house, we were raised different. I was told most of the time, I was like my father, Lazy, good for nothing, no talent etc Even though I didn`t know my father. I was told from time to time I would grow up to be a whore and worth nothing. My sister though was praised. She was smart, talented, etc. But I was grandma`s whipping girl more or less. I always had very low self esteem and lack of confidence. Mom was no help either. She was child like and self center. Grandma would be consider now a days Bi-polar. Mom was slow and child like. When she remarried, my life went from the frying pan into the fire. He was a tyrant. He would make us get up at 3 in the morning and reclean the house if there was a speck of dust in the corners. Or he would make us wash every single dish in the house if a spoon had a water spot on it. So , I remember getting on the honor roll and came home and showed mom. She said oh big deal. It was a big deal to me. I was so happy but that didn`t last too long. Needless to say, I have always struggle with loving myself and having self confidence. I do help other people who are in need. with out questions. If they don`t have food . My husband and I give food, or wood for heat. But as far as having friends, I don`t have friends that come over. We have family members that even hates me. Well last week at Thanksgiving, my own sister was very upset with me. Because I was cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for my husband, daughter and I, she wanted me to go and get tv dinners and called it our meal. I asked her if she was getting a Thanksgiving Dinner and she said yes. I told her; we were entitle to a dinner also and that she should go and get a tv dinner lol. She lives about 6 hours from us. But on Thanksgiving Day , she called and asked what I was doing. I told her I just put the turkey in the oven and SHE GOT MAD. She said that she couldn`t understand why I was cooking when we were not getting any company. I told her, we invited some people which we did and they didn`t come, not my problem. We had a very good dinner and a blessed family time. But this is what I have to deal with. I have been praying that God would send me friends to come and visit and do things with. That is when the verse came to me and said love your neighbor as yourself. I didn`t know what loving yourself meant at all. Until I came here. God has been with me and he does answer prayers. He has preform miracles in my life except when it comes to friends and family. Then as soon as I came here , I had a eye opener. I`m in this position not because of GOD but because I never really love me. I hated everything about me, looks, lack of self esteem. no confidence at all. If I sat and wrote my whole life it would be a book. I have never moved on. When I start something it`s like why am I doing this when I have no talent, or I`ll probably screw it up or why should I try anything because I`ll make a mess out of it. I wanted to go to nursing school when I was younger but guess what I let my grandma and mom talked me out of it. I was enrolled and ready to start and they said no. Well I made up my mind tonight. I`m going to work on letting go of the past. It`s easy to sit back and blame the past. Yes the past does have everything to do with how you see yourself and others see you. But as of tonight, It`s time to move on. I too have lost a child she was almost a month old . Her name was Jessica, she was a twin. Nicole lived but Jessica went back home with the Lord. So they weighed 1lb 4 oz and Nicole weighed 2lbs3oz.. But I don`t blame God for taking Jessie. Nicole had major health problems as it was. But God has answered our prayers. Now it is time to move on. I`m in my 50`s and sitting here, I realize, I`ve wasted my life in trying to be everything to everyone except me. I want to learn to love me so I can really love my neighbors. So please be in prayer for me. Been married for 30 happy years.

    • Hi Kathy

      Thank you for sharing that with me. I bet so many others will hear your story and feel relieved that someone else also shares their highs and lows.

      Losing a child must be AWFUL. But please remember that it is not God who does such things. It is the enemy who comes only to steal, kill and destroy. God through Jesus Christ gives life and life abundantly.

      Im am so so so glad that you have decided to learn how to love yourself. You have many years of nonsense to UNLEARN… all those unloving comments need to be challenged and thrown out as the rubbish that they are.

      You can do it. And on this blog I have shared many of my own stories. I hope they help you.

      God bless you in your journey, Mark.

      • Dear Kathy,

        I want to thank you for standing up and being a mighty warrior of GOD Almighty! I applaud your honesty. and would be honoured to be your friend. I live in the US mostly, but come back to Australia regularly. I hope to meet you and give you a big hug and tell you how smart, beautiful. talented and special you are for being you and brave too! Despite the odds stacked up against you, you have chosen to be an overcomer for you and your family you now are Blessed with> GOD Bless all of you and keep on being the Best you can be! It is not between you and the people who have tried to keep you down, it is between you and GOD to be the Most of Who you are. Lots of love and infinite blessings of success in all good! Kyla

  8. God bless you. This is an interesting article that encourages people to obey God. God’s commandment is not a parable; neither did He ask mankind to tweek His rule then obey. God expects us to OBEY without a question or a delay. Therefore, let us love GOD with our everything, in so doing we place Him on the throne of our hearts. In addition, God wants us to place the same emphases and care we give to ourselves on others. Yes, the call is to stop being S-E-L-F-I-S-H and open our hearts to Love God and others. Being selfish is the former works of the flesh and represents the devil. I am also sure that God don’t want us to look at ourselves as insignificant when Jesus died to make us know that we are children of the most high God. That is the devil’s job.
    God is interested in us looking beautiful and acting so as well.

  9. Excellent article Mark. I was just doing a study on humility, and how can I understand humility without understanding who I am in God.

    The bible says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are children of God. How can we walk in an inferior image when God has said so many beautiful things about us his creation? God LOVES us.

    Because God loves us, we should love ourselves. The context in which people speak of becoming “lovers of themselves” is entirely in context to an arrogant and prideful way. Not too long ago the Holy spirit spoke to me on not making myself an idol because I spent so much time in the mirror daily. I was becoming vain.

    However, just a few years ago the Holy spirit rebuked me because I hated myself to the point where I never took care of my hygene, physical appearance or anything. I was not representing the image of God to the world but was showing myself as an inferior person with low self esteem. How would anyone take me seriously.

    It is about finding a HEALTHY love and appreciation for ourselves. How can we hate ourselves when God loves us? Hating ourselves would be rejecting the love of God. Imagine a mother who gave birth to a child. She sees the child as so beautiful in her sight. Now imagine if the child grew up and utterly hated herself. How would the mother feel?

    The same is with God. He wants us to accept that by beginning to have a HEALTHY love for ourselves. Some people HATE their talents, their looks etc. How do you think God feels about that considering he made us IN HIS IMAGE. Hating ourselves in this context would be sinning against God.

    Loving yourself unhealthily would also be sinning against God. And this is not my opinion, but based upon the scripture and holy spirit. LOVE what God gave to YOU!

  10. Mark God bless you!

    The holy spirit has been revealing this to me lately and I couldn’t have written it better myself. Thank you and I look forward to your future posts. As I have been serving and loving others this is a huge piece I’ve been clearly missing.

    Be blessed 🙂 Lauren

  11. May I encourage you to pray about what you have written?

    Yes, it is ASSUMED that we love ourselves, but that’s not what it teaches us to do. There is a big difference. Read the verse below. God does not want us to be lovers of ourselves.

    But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy … (2 Timothy 3:1-2).

    No, we don’t have to love ourselves first in order to love others or love God. The Bible never teaches this. When I was obese, I completely hated myself. But I still loved God with all my heart and served him with joy. I loved others as well!!! The verse that says, “love others as yourself” simply emphasizes the importance of the love we must have for others. It does not mean we must love ourselves first (or love ourselves at all) in order to love others.

    That’s the problem we have in America. People are lovers of self, instead of lovers of God. It’s all about self-esteem when it should be about “GOD esteem”. We esteem self too much and not God.

    This site explains the verses you mentioned in your article: http://www.dougbrittonbooks.com/onlinebiblestudies-selfworthandrespect/loveyourselffirst-shouldilovemyselffirst.php

    God bless.

    • Hi Vanessa

      I read your impassioned plea yesterday and I sat on it overnight and I believe the Holy Spirit said this to me this morning. Lets take a look at these two connected verses which describe how a man should love his wife AS HIMSELF. Lets see how the bible assumes you are loving yourself…

      However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself – Eph 5:33 NIV
      After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it – Eph 5:29

      The bottom line here is that we suffer because our family around us were charged with loving us, but instead, because of their brokenness and the fallenness of our world, they failed to love us. But we still need love. Where do we get it? From God is the right answer and another source of love which is biblical – see the scriptures above – is that you feed and care for yourself.

      AND. I want to completely agree with you, the bible is speaking about a healthy self love (feeding and caring, nurture, cherish) and it is NOT encouraging unhealthy love such as you wrote about

      People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy … (2 Timothy 3:1-2).

      I think of Hugh Heffner and the Playboy Mansion when I see that verse. We are NOT encouraged to have unhealthy love.

      God bless you,

      • Dear Mark, Many thanks for your thoughtfulness on this subject–I’m preaching a series on growing in love, which started last Sunday with loving God, I’ll preach this Sunday on loving yourself, as the 2nd topic of the series of five, and your Bible verses in this post are particularly helpful. Also, I totally agree with everything I just read in your post on the subject. Up to and including how tragic it is when churches do not recognize that sad histories can leave people needing to learn how to care for and love themselves… Your post is a very kind gift from across the miles! Gratefully, Pastor Judy Young, Washington Grove (United Methodist) Church, Maryland, U.S.A

    • I think you are misconstruing what this article is saying. This article is describing what love “looks” like. See excerpt about respect, appreciation, patience, understanding, ect.

      A husband is commanded to love a wife as he loves himself and we are commanded to love others as we love ourselves, simply meaning take care of ALL their needs, as you would take care of your own (sort of a Golden Rule concept).

      Yes, people are selfish and put themselves first most of the time.. God is saying show that same attribute to your brothers in loving them so much that you put THEM first. Then you will truly be walking in love. Lovers of self are prideful people at heart. That is not a self-esteem issue/God-esteem issue, it is a pride issue. I.E.,You hate the pretty girl because she gets all the attention, when really you want all the attention. That turns into a pride issue.

      Abuse is a real thing… and the first step to healing is forgiving, then learning to see yourself as God sees you. Abuse breaks a person’s soul. They have a distorted idea of what LOVE is. This is why they need to read 1 Corinthians 13 and see how God defines it, which is basically what this article articulates. It tells us what love looks like.. how we should treat others and ourselves.

      I think he did a GREAT job on this article! It was very encouraging and healing.

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  13. I appreciated the article as well as some of the spirited dialogue in the comments. I would say that the Bible does teach the importance of loving ourselves (or at the very least being at peace with ourselves) and I think it’s even more elemental and fundamental to our creation than we give credit for. After creating mankind in Genesis 2 we read that Adam and Eve were naked and they felt no shame. This means that they were completely transparent, open, known, and vulnerable to each other, and they were okay with it because they were secure in who they were. They had nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide. They could be fully know and fully accepted. I believe that the root of loving others is also rooted in this passage. Not only does it speak about not feeling shame, but nothing is being said or done to the other to create in them any feelings of shame.

  14. I’m extremely not used to the net and necessary to review this subject. Thought it was a fantastic article well written and helpful. I am going to definitely be returning to your internet site to learn more articles when i loved that one..

  15. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
    Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? With thanks

    • You are very welcome.

      Yes the bible assumes that you are loving yourself – taking good care of yourself and then says to take very good care of others as well.

      The bible also tells men to love women as they love their own bodies. The assumption there as well is that you are taking very good care of your own physical body… and you should then take very good care of your wife in the same way.

      Let us take care of ourselves and ALSO take good care of our wife and the people around us.

      God bless you, Mark.

  16. The Old Testament Commandments, the very Bible itself is summed up in what our Lord Jesus Christ said” Love God and Love Others as you love yourself ”
    You have to focus on loving God first (we are helped in this by the Holy Spirit pouring this love into us) and that enables us to “love ourselves” in an appropriate manner and this helps us to be at peace with ourselves, and be contented with ourselves- THEN, we can begin to love others as we love ourselves.

    • I think the growth in learning to love God, love yourself, love others is not a one time thing, it’s a process, a journey. Some people never get anywhere on this journey because they judge God and hate Him, others hate themselves and are unable to love God or anyone else.

      AS we develop personal boundaries we respect other people’s boundaries more. AS we love God and see Him and receive Jesus Christ, we develop more grace for ourselves and for others around us. AS we forgive ourselves, our hearts soften towards others and God. AS we forgive others we are forgiven by God and our lives change.

      It’s all mixed in together. It all influences each other. It all works together.

      God bless you guys, Mark.

  17. You are not to love yourself. The bible never teaches this. The bible says you are born loving yourself. You are to hate yourself if you are to lose your live for Him. If you don’t lose your life for Him you wont have salvation. Luke 14:26.

    • You and I are talking about different kinds of love – in Hebrew and Greek there are many kinds of love.

      You are speaking about another kind of love… which is pride and selfishness and idolatry and which prevents us from becoming saved because we are too proud to submit to Jesus Christ.

      The love I wrote about… the bible says to guard your heart because from it springs all the issues of life. This post is about our heart and the issues of life, relating to one another, caring for one another..

      God bless you, Mark.

    • To love yourself is to do that which is good for you. God says do that which will enrich you, which will make you grow as a person, make you a joy to be around. Gods love means peace and unity, do not be against yourself.

    • Jeff, thanks so much for this insight! I was of the belief that God “commanded” us to love ourselves, but no; instead, He “states” that we should love others as we love ourselves. In essence, treat others the way we want to be treated. Thanks.

  18. How is “Love your wives as you love yourself” different from “Love others as you love yourself”, considering He also said, ” Love each other as I have loved you”, “Greater love hath no man he that layeth down his life for his friends”.
    Is the difference in ” that we are to love our wives as we love our own body”, and also in “one flesh” aspect, and that maybe the love for the wife includes eros, storge/fillio and agape love whereas love for others would include only agape and fillio.
    The bottom line is of course love, however it would help to know if there is any difference in the kind of love we have for others, and the kind of love we have for our wives (by His standards in the Bible)
    Yohan John

  19. How is “Love your wives as you love yourself” different from “Love others as you love yourself”, considering He also said, ” Love each other as I have loved you”, “Greater love hath no man he that layeth down his life for his friends”.
    Is the difference in ” that we are to love our wives as we love our own body”, and also in “one flesh” aspect, and that maybe the love for the wife includes eros, storge/fillio and agape love whereas love for others would be agape and fillio.
    The bottom line is of course love, however it would help to know if there is any difference in the kind of love we have for others, and the kind of love we have for others (by His standards in the Bible)
    Yohan John

  20. The Bible does not say to Love Yourself. And no wonder that you can only find one sentence to back that up (“Love thy neighbor as thyself”) Tha Commandment does not mean to love yourself, it means to love other people instead of yourself.

    Jesus said you must loose your life to find it.
    He also said that you must hate your life.
    If you hate your life, you will not love yourself.

    The Heart is decietfully wicked above all things, who could know it.
    By telling people that they need to love themselves, you are in reality telling them that they are good enough for GOD, and they don’t need to change.

    • Thank you for leaving your reply Dan. I appreciate it that you care and want to stand up for the gospel.

      No I am not good enough for God. Without Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, I would be right back where He found me… and even worse off by now. I’m a sinner, ungodly and an enemy… just as the bible says. And I want to change. And Jesus Christ has changed me. And God now accepts me.

      So as you can see… Im repentant. I’ve change my mind and the Holy Spirit is changing my ways. NOW I believe what God says about me. Jesus Christ sees His bride as beautiful. He permits her to dress in HIS righteousness. My walls are always before Him (in His thoughts). My name is written on His hand.

      Yes, I have worth in His eyes. Left to myself, my nature is awful. Just look at the world, we rape, fight, we are greedy, we grab oil and we loot. But when we come to Him, He redeems us, He gives us value. He treats us like His own children. Jesus speaks lovingly about how God feels about the sparrows and the lilies of the field – and then He says HOW MUCH MORE worth we have than them!

      God loves us and He sees the worth we have. And the bible confirm that we must indeed take care of ourselves. We are a previous in His sight.

      That is why we can only love others in the measure that we love ourselves. If I have no regard for my own personal safety, then I will have no regard for your safety. If I do not care for my own emotions, I will not care for your emotions. If I do not see myself as precious in His eyes, I will not see you as precious in His eyes.

      My writing is not encouraging self-idolatry. In fact I doubt that anyone reading this blog has that problem.

      Not too high. Not too low. The bible says in Rom 12:4 “think of yourself with sober judgment” and that is what I am encouraging. Think of yourself with sober judgement… not too highly (proud, pompous) and not too lowly (worthless, devalued, hopeless).

      God bless you,

      • Yes I like what I am reading Mark. I just coined this new tag phrase from this very thought and scripture you are sharing. I actually borrowed it from lyrics of a Nicole C. Mullen song. “Live Lovified” We cannot extend to others what we do not know for ourselves. Thank you God for making me new in Christ!! God bless!!!

  21. Incredibly insightful and illuminating. Thr timing of receiving this beautiful message, your gift, your loving your neighbours, was truly incredible… I searched Google on the terms faith hope love in order to better understand…to receive guidance…to be inspired…I received all three! Thank you xo

  22. Dear Mark

    When it comes to loving others. My heart overflows. I sometimes tend to cry when I see a stranger suffering. With loving others (my neigbor) I don’t have a problem.

    But when it comes to myself. I stop dead in my tracks. I can’t seem to forgive, except or love myself. I’m going for counselling soon. I really need to be freed from this, thing, this devil. It’s really wearing me down. And Jesus didn’t die for me on the cross to feel like this.

    I would like to know what the bible says about this. I constantly ask God for His forgiveness when I feel this way. I know it makes Him sad.

    There’s definitely a war going on inside of me. My spirit, knowing the truth of God but my heart, feeling a total difirent way.

    Anyway, hope this makes sence to you.


    • Hi Sheep

      You probably know that Jesus Christ died to set you free and to give you abundant life. Knowing that is easy. Receiving it by faith is the tough part.

      The best advice I have is to learn to be at peace, to forgive, and especially to learn to love yourself. Take care of you. Be your own best friend. Nurture yourself.

      Well done in being brave enough to go for counselling.

      God bless you,

  23. I walked away from God,the Bible and all of my roman catholic teachings. When both parents and my only child died. The effect on me was profound. My parents, both 63 and 64, died suddenly. My mother a massive heart attack and my father diabetes. I handle that well. I was not very close to either of them, my father a little more. Felt sorry they were still so young and I had love in me for both. My childhood was a horrific one. When my son died, trajectly and suddenly, it “CRUSHED” my soul and ripped my heart to pieces. I lost consciousness, I was in shock, I was in a fog and I remained so for a long time. Grief smothered me, beat me down, tortured me endlessly. Guilt and Anger consumed me. My road has had many trauma’s but the loss of my only child devastated me, crippled me and taunted me. Children do not bury parents. It’s not natural. I was left in my grief, alone, buried in a big hole I couldn’t get out of. My life became meaningless. Part of me went with him. Now I am half a person trying to find another half to complete me that would no longer have him in it. On the day of my son’s wake, after staring at him for 3 hours, I closed my eyes and silently walked away from God. How could God, who gave me the toughest life imaginable be so cruel, hellish? Why did he make it so that I had to experience more trauma, more hurt, more pain? Wasn’t God good? Where is this goodness? Our Country is a mess, people dying in the wars, everything is about money, children dying everyday, homeless, mentally ill. I am in disbelief that God would do such a thing. Why does God give more burdens to some and not the rest? Why was I taught in religious instructions that children not baptised cannot go to his Kingdom? Why should I hate jews, muslims and gays? Why can’t a priest marry? Why did so many men-of-god molest so many children? Why do I have to go to church? Jesus roamed the earth with his followers and he was a Saviour. He spoke from his soapbox to his followers. Why did God make “examples” out of people in the Bible? Isn’t the Bible manmade? Why would God forgive a murderer, a pedophile, a serial killer who has been “born” again, but an unbaptised child cannot go to his Kingdom? I would like spirituality back in my life. I will not be a Roman Catholic hypocrite. I question “Christianity”. As it appears that they are selfish, it’s all about them, everything is turned over to God’s hands, they preach AT you not WITH you. All walks of life are “Christians”. Does it make them feel better to believe in “something”? Is it okay that they hate gays, use the “N” word and don’t tackle a single problem because God will figure it out for them? Is it ok to gamble, drink or swear? Can a person “really” live with themselves that way? Doesn’t it say in the 10 commandments “thou shalt not kill”? I am an Advocate. I have a mission in life to help others, unselfishly and from my heart and knowledge. The cruel situations I have been in are remarkable and I don’t think any one of these Christians could handle it. They would put it in God’s hands as they slowly shut the door in your face. I hope somewhere at sometime I can be blessed with some spirituality. I am not afraid to die. I am not fearful that God will not have his pearly gates open for me. If there is a God, and I think there is, he’s not going to accept those sinners of ugliness and greed into his Kingdom. If he does, I will surely follow with those gates wide open to me. Thank you. Roseann Pelletier

    • Dear Roseann.

      I’m so sorry about your child. I will never be able to know how you feel, because I don’t have one. But know that while I was reading your post, I felt your pain. It must’ve been terrible. I’m so sorry

      I feel that I really want to pray for you.

      Dear Father. I come to You in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ. And I would like to lift Roseann up to You. Dear Father her heart is broken in a million pieces. You say in Your word that You are close to the broken hearted. Please be close to Roseann. She really needs You and Your comfort. You are our comforter dear Father.

      I pray for the christians she was talking about. I pray that they will really follow the full truth of the gospel and that the Holy Spirit will lead them to be the full representatives for Jesus and to be the deciples You called us to be.

      I pray this in the Almighty Name of Jesus Christ.
      Thank you Jesus.

      Blessings to you Roseann.

      • I cry as a write. I can hardly see the words I’m typing. This world is so cruel but God doesn’t make a mistake. Your child is an angel. God knows whats best for us. We don’t understand why God allow somethings to happen but He is God. God won’t give you more than you can bear. You are here for a reason don’t let Satan turn you around cause He is the one out to destroy you while you are going through your trials and tribulations. I ask God right now to strengthen you, shield and protect you, take Satan’s hands and thoughts off you and your life. Please don’t let Satan make you lose your soul to Him. Go back to church and ask God to forgive you for questioning what He has done and to make you stronger in His word. Ask God what do He want you to do? I believe God has something for you to do so big only He can reveal it to you Himself. Lay down all the way on the floor and pray Lord, I SURRENDER ALL I HAVE LAID DOWN AS FAR DOWN AS I CAN GET AND I GIVE MYSELF AWAY SO YOU CAN USE ME. PLEASE LORD, WHEN MY TIME COMES, LET ME ENTER INTO YOUR HOUSE WHERE I CAN UNITE WITH YOU, MY MOM, DAD, AND MY SON. AMEN, AMEN, AMEN.

    • Hi Roseann

      Thank you for sharing with us. You have walked a tough road. You have asked so many questions. The only One Who can answer you is the Holy Spirit.

      May I just say one thing. Don’t be angry with God for hurting you… when in fact it was not God hurting you.

      Be angry with the devil, satan, he is the one who tricks, lies and deceives and hurts us. Be angry with him.

      God is the One Who loves you. The devil is the one who hurts you.

      Run towards God, not away from Him.

      God bless you,

  24. Thank you for your article! I’ve been in the church family since age 7, but also grew up in up in an unstable, violent, abusive ( physical & sexual ), environments (moved around alot) until age 14, I decided to runaway from hone. I then took what I learnt and used it, getting Involved in

  25. As I’m studing love, this Sunday is truely all about love, for God so love the world that he gave his only son. It’s not about the bunny or eggs or candy. It is about the love that God has for all of us and he want us to lay down our lives which is our self wants and ganes for our brother and thank you for your word and studys. God bless and Happy Resurrection!!!!

  26. Did you note in the verses you quoted that the Bible DOES NOT say we are to love ourselves? It does not encourage us to consider how we should love ourselves. It does not give us that outlook. It DOSE ASSUME that we are self-lovers, that we look out for number one. It assumes that if someone takes a swing at us we will protect ourselves by ducking, or taking protective measures if someone is “after us”.
    I think rather than teaching a concept of loving yourself, which is contrary to the Bible, we should focus on how God has already demonstrated an incredible love for each of us, and then grasping the concept that He accepts us unconditionally. When we see in Him that infinite and unconditional love, once we come to know Him as our personal savior, we then will begin to demonstrate the same kind of love He did in the person of Jesus Christ. Mark 10:45, the key verse of the book of Mark says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Only in narcissistic America does “make sure you love yourself” ever appear in the theology books!

    • Proverbs 19:8
      Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good

      It does say stuff about loving yourself. If you hate yourself, how could you love your neighbor as it is instructed? God tells us to love one another for example, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ thus we should love ourselves so we can love our neighbor.

  27. Heys all,

    Thanks Mark for writing this article, found it as I’ve been on a journey of self-worth..
    I only have one addition:
    what we understand as love differs from what God’s description of love (1 Cor 13:4-8)
    my thoughts are that I ought to love myself as God loves me because when I could do that, I would be able to see who I am before God and extends God’s perfect through imperfect me.

    thanks again!! =)

    • Hi Jo

      Yes we must love ourselves. HOW you choose to love yourself is important, I agree. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and am planning a blog post about it. Jesus Christ displayed many good boundaries and He did lots of things to protect Himself and to look after Himself. More than we might think, because we are seldom taught much about His choices in the bible.

      God bless you!

  28. Um. These verses do not say to love yourself. The bible teaches and assumes that we already love ourselves – too much in fact. These scriptures are attempting to get the reader to focus on OTHERS, to love OTHERS because we already focus on ourselves way too much.

    These verses categorically do not tell you to love yourself.

    This is just more humanism, self-serving, self-loving humanism, teaching people to “love” themselves.

    • Hi SeaDave

      The fact is that the words say you DO and you WILL “love other AS you love yourself”. You will have to come to grips with that. The bible is explaining that He wants you to love others AS you love yourself. So it is assumed that you love yourself. And now He wants you to love others in that same way. It is assumed you are taking care of your own needs – so do the same for others. It is assumed you find food and shelter and comfort for yourself, so do the same for others.

      BUT… many people do not love themselves, they do not take care of themselves. And my message is this. God EXPECTS you to love yourself. It is assumed that you do. He wants you to. AND THEN He wants you to do the same for others.

      In the same way Paul says in Eph 5 that ‘no man hates his own flesh’ but perhaps Paul would be astonished to see to what extent people really DO hate their own flesh in these days. Paul wants us to care for our partners as we care for ourselves… but I believe that we need to care for ourselves and THEN we will be in a good position to care for our partners as well.

      Please try to hear me… we are to give out of abundance. Many husbands do not “nourish and carefully protect and cherish” their own flesh (see Eph 5:28-29 AMP) and therefore they are unable to do the same for their wives.

      So His command is: love others AS you love yourselves. He assumes you love yourself in a healthy way and He wants you to do the same for others – also in a healthy way.

      The bible says that we give “out of abundance”. We are to be the head and not the tail. Above “only” and not beneath. Some people give from the position of the tail and while they are below. This is not bad, but it’s not ideal or healthy either. Praise God for generous people who give when they have nothing!! But don’t let that stop you from setting your sights on becoming the head, and then giving from there. We are to be above ONLY, and not beneath. Give from there!

      And so love your body, and love your wife/partner from that position of health and strength. Cherish and nourish yourself… and cherish and nourish her!

      And love yourself, and love others in that same way.

  29. “as yourself” doesn’t mean love yourself. It means to show the same care to others as yourself…for example, you will do whatever it takes to feed yourself, clothe yourself, quench your thirst. Our focus should never be on ourself, but on God’s Will. Can you imagine Christ saying “I love myself” or even thinking it in His mind? I feel very bad for Bryan’s message on 12/08. Christ and the Bible is the only thing that can truly change you. I was diagnosed manic-depressive/ bi-polar when I was young but once I saw that all depression is is the lack of God in your life. He can change us, He will change us if it glorifies Himself. No glory or love is to be spent on anyone other than God. When we do that, His love is able to spread to others and His love is enough to keep us focused on Himself and others. I see everyone quoting the same phrase, “as yourself.” It is taken way out of context. I’m sorry for those who disagree but find another phrase in His Word that directly tells us to love ourselves. God bless you all and focus on Him…do not believe ANYTHING that cannot be backed up by His Word.

  30. I agree with Tony’s comments from March 25, 2009.
    Won’t you love someone else FIRST, and THEN love yourself LAST? Shouldn’t we recognize and fight against personal selfishness? Please, please, people!

    • The key is to be the head and not the tail, to be above ONLY and not beneath, to give from abundance. All these are biblical phrases.

      Many husbands do not nourish and carefully protect and cherish their own flesh (see Eph 5:28-29) and how then can they do the same for their wives?

      Listen to my heart… many people do not love themselves and therefore they give a very poor quality love to others. In order to care for others, we must care for ourselves.

  31. That was beautiful and inspiring. I have read thiat poem before and I love it, children live what they learn. I was touched by that poem when I was younger and it had the most profound effect on me, it imade me aware of the importance of consciously choosing to be positive and to talk to people with love and respect in my heart for them instead of criticising and judging constantly.
    I have become a happier person for it and I believe I am now part of the solution to making this world a better place rather than part of the problem. As a mum I consciously and constantly praise the loving and kind words and actions of my son and I can proudly say that he is a wonderful child who is so full of love that it spills over to all of those around him. Thank god for our children they have so much to teach us if only we would listen to them. Love, light and peace to you all

    • It’s so simple but so important. The words you use with your kids and your partner stick with them long after you leave the room or their lives. Choose your words generously and wisely. 🙂

  32. Your interpretation of the this verse is NOT how itis written in Greek. This popular rendition of the verse is mainly influenced by psychology and modern therapy. By contrast, if you consult the lexicon and read it as it says, is simply a way of saying: ‘put yourself in the shoes of another”. The word is Greek is ὡς “as” as in the use in similies; “he swims LIKE a fish” or “she is as bright AS a button, “love your neighbour LIKE/AS yourself” … ie view that neighbour in the same way as you view yourself. It is another way of saying: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. We do not need to “love ourselves” because God loves us.

  33. how will you be able to do a JOB if you do not have self confidence. since there are millions of people looking for a job right now, how will a person get a job when he does not project self confidence. will he ever get hired when the interviewing manager or human resource personnel can sense a person does not have self confidence.
    the church always points to christ confidence & not self confidence ( S I N the middle of sIn / prIde is I. )what is that & how will that help people when they are in a job interview. employers do not ask for christ confidence but hire employees with people with self confidence.

  34. I have no problem to love myself and am willing to love my neighbors. But how can I love them as much as I love myself in the literal sense that in whatever I do for myself I should do the same to them? If that is the case (which I believe it is), I’ve found that the commandment is so difficult to follow. When I love my wife and my kids (as I love myself), I am willing to buy expensive things (car or house) for them as much as I buy for myself. I’m OK with that. Yet I cannot rationalize buying something that cost me too sacrificially for my neighbors. Please help me to understand.

      • It means that you respect them as you respect your own, do not ignore them, do not make too much noise when they need quiet. It does not mean you pay their bills, it means you show them the respect you would like from them. it means being a two way street, be polite, help if necessary, be kind to them. It is obvious that they will not buy you posh gifts either, but it means do unto them as you would have them do unto you.

    • The commandments are all difficult to follow.they are made almost impossible to men, it is impossible until we have God. These commandments are made to glorify the Lord.
      N no I don’t think he means cars, I font think things of this world matter much, but things that endure. The things he gave us such as spiritual love and hope and faith. If u see a stranger on the street who needs help
      U help them just as u would need help. And neighbor doesn’t mean literally living next to you. Read the parable of the good Samaritan
      And another thing, does loving yourself mean buying things???? Don’t answer that question, it is only my point

  35. I praise the Lord for directing me to your site, as I begin to wonder if this is part of the reason why society (besides their not ‘seeming to’ want to know about God, Jesus, or ‘their’ Word) is the way it is today? I work at a day care (Christian run) where one of the co-workers has a ‘heavy’ drinking problem (she’s also about to be let go because the Director has prayed for and with her, but the woman does not seem to want to change. ‘She’ doesn’t think she has a problem but we know that she does.), but you can most definitely see other more deep-seeded cries for help, where abuse and other ‘issues’ have gotten a foot-hold in her life.
    She ‘attends’ church, but I’m not actually sure (I will be speaking wth her sometime this week) if she takes God, Jesus, or the Word for what they’re meant to be in her (and our) life. She lives with a mom who also drinks, and a brother who’s known to be abusive, and unfortunately her much younger sister (this woman is 55 and her sister is 11 years old) sees this going on day in and day out.
    I’ve been wondering if she loves or even cares for herself at all? She can be caring and go out of her way to help, but more times than others, she’s very loud and critical, and snaps at the children at the drop of a hat (another part of the alcoholism? Which “will not” be allowed to go on any longer). The Director will be letting her go asap, in the hope and prayer that she will finally wake up and get the help that she needs, and I pray this will be a final ‘wake-up’ to make her call on Jesus.
    I also pray that she gets to ‘know’ Jesus for herself and looks deep within to know that she can lover herself, in order to turn her life around with Christ’s help.

    • All we can do is preach the gospel and pray and pray everyday for her. Her salvation is not depended on us. Te bible says some people have hardened their hearts towards god and don’t care to hear the word of God

  36. i just want to add this-you cant love others if you dont love yourself and neither can you love God if you dont love yourself. you can only give what you have. if you dont love yourself you definitely cant love others. the bible says love yur neighbour as youself. meaning if you shouldnt love others more than yourself and this is not pride. being a lover of one self (as the bible refers to self-centerdness/pride) is different from loving oneself. the bible says God is love. everything He does/did He’s done out f love. if there is no love in Him He couldnt have possibly done them. so if we are truely His image we must love the way He loves not less. I’m going through certain things myself and this write up has really helped me.

  37. Thank you so much for your blog.

    I just recently was taken to the ER for uncontrollable head spasms. Well they found nothing wrong – and I made visits to 4 other doctors (without any health insurance due to my own irresponsibility and lack of self confidence). All of them told me nothing was wrong.

    It’s so frustrating and hopeless. Besides multitudes of physical symptoms, I feel emotionally and spiritually dead. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’ll wake up tommorow.

    I’ve really tried to reconnect with Jesus, and lift my transgressions up to him. But I feel like he’s doesn’t want to bother with me anymore. I have come to realize that I’ve been in self-denial. I’m a negative, selfish, depressing, pessimistic person who hates themself so much and doesn’t seem to know how to love people in return.

    I want to change, but I don’t know how to process it or accept it. My mind is so strong and I end up struggling internally over and over from the guilt and shame of feeling forsaken (and rightfully so) by God.

    “Hurt people, who have had little or no love in their lives sometimes read the bible and see only the anger of God, or they see the self-depreciating language and then decide that it was God’s will that they were not loved and that somehow a God of love thinks it’s ok that they were disrespected in their lives.”

    That quote almost made me choke. I thought I had atleast some love in my life (coming from an extremely broken and continually breaking generations of family). Sometimes I wonder if I could ever love myself. I don’t know if I ever have, where to start, or if I’d be doing it right.

    • I’m not sure what quote u are talking about
      But If u feel spiritually dead it is because u need some spiritual food. Which is the word of the Lord. Just like we need to feed our physical bodies we need to feed our souls.
      But the best place to start is to read ur bible. Take one day at a time. Christianity is not a religion but a way of life. It is a walk with the lord everyday.
      We can’t go after God, he comes after us. All we can do is seek the Lord.

  38. Oh, and p.s. before someone jumps all over my last sentence, I wanna say that God has created all of us to be unique, and complement each other, and it is all part of his divine plan, so yes, the “world” does need us bc it needs God’s love and we can share it.

  39. Okay, I read Jesse’s response and I got a little upset. Nothing against you personally Jesse, but I think alot of people do need to hear something encouraging. I have recently been diagnosed with major depression and am trying to finish my last quarter at college. I have problems saying “no” to ppl and have actually failed classes bc I felt too guilty to take care of my own academic needs, and have helped others before myself, and things even got the point where I started feeling guilty for wanting to do Illustration (since art can be materialistic). I am trying (very hard) to overcome intense feelings of guilt and anger towards God, from several issues I would rather not get into bc trust me, alot of ppl prob WILL judge me. I think there is a huge difference between being self-caring and self centered, and I feel like I am starting to learn this. It makes me very angry when ppl say that seeing a psychiatrist is wrong, and all they do is coddle their patients. NO. If they do that is not a good psychiatrist. Mine has taught me to take responsibility for my actions, and to think about positive choices I can make that will benefit myself, and be honest with others, yet polite and sympathetic. If you are angry at someone why lie about it and say no? You can talk about it in a polite way without whining and settle the issue. I’m pretty sure Jesus said something like if someone sins against you and they ignore you several times when you confront them in a mature way, then you shouldn’t worry about dealing with them. Not that you should never do nice things for them ever again, or be condescending (of course!), but you shouldn’t let them take advantage of you. I’m pretty sure Paul says something about this when hes speaking out against those who are lazy, and don’t do things for themselves, which was me many times too. I dont want to be super negative, but people need to realize its okay to take care of yourself, but even if you are depressed you shouldn’t be rude to others and use it as an excuse to blow ppl off, and you should help when you can, just not in a way that will destroy you like I have in the past. You should love others, but YES, its okay to be kind to yourself. We should wake up every morning and count our blessings, or things we like about ourselves physically, mentally, whatever. I’m beginning to feel God in my life again, bc I have been able to control my reactions (especially angry ones) towards others, and not to take things that ppl say so seriously. I’m still not 100% and prob wont be for a while, but thats okay with me; I try my best everyday to help others in need, be kind to others and listen to them when they need my help, to be honest with others when I feel they have taken advantage of me, and I several of my relationships with others have improved tremendously bc of this. If you’re depressed and reading my comment, even though its kinda late and very stream of consciousness, don’t be afraid to seek help bc you are worth it and you are a unique and special creature, and the world needs you.

    • Very eye-opening site: daughtersofnarcisisticmothers.com (search for terms if I misstyped please.) Hope it helps someone! It helped me greatly.

  40. i would like to thank you for writing this post. I think a problem that some people have is that they do help others, but they don’t really like who they are? Their mind keeps telling them are are sinners- ok we are sinners… but we must strive to be more Christ-like- to be a saint. And i think the first step is accept and love who you are- then you can love others and learn to understand them more.

    To learn to love who you are is accepting how God made you to be.

  41. First i like to say i really enjoy this site, and thank you for sharing alot of your experiances with me. In so many ways i can relate to so many articles on here, especially the first article i read here which is “whoever is the greatest is the least”.

    My question about this article is creating boundaries, im not very good at creating them. My only boundary is keep giving till you expect something in return. I mean theres a fine line between hoping for something and expecting something, and when i start expecting i stop giving, because i know theres a good chance i might sin after that. i do come out of a lot of situations very sad though since my hopes didn’t come true. Does that make me a selfish person? Am i not setting my boundaries propely because i come out sad?

    One of the best quotes i’ve read about loving yourself is to look out for the common good, because that is what is best for the individual good.

    • That doesn’t make you a shellfish person. But it is evident when a person expects something back from a human creation, what the person really feel deep down is to actually recieve their Love presented towards them, since that particular person gave an action of Love to another, such as a nice gift. This reveals in the person that they depend on human respond of Love towards their self, lest to Love their self. When that happens, this goes more to show that a healthy Love relationship with their self is needed in order to not expect when giving, but give from the generous heart that came from Appreciating, Accepting, and Loving their self exactly who they are and need no substitute for it.

      • P.S.- to Love Healthily of how God created us to be and believe that the Lord, our God, Jesus Christ, washed us clean from all our iniquities because of the life He has given for us. This shows true and great Love.

  42. I have to agree with Derek. Also, the path to healing, recovery and loving others is NOT in loving ourselves. It’s in loving GOD. When He opens our eyes and saves us, we can now see ourselves as wonderful creations and see others the same way, too. But true healing and love for others will never begin with ourselves. Who needs God then?

    Hi Lynn.

    Extremely hurt people may have developed a hard heart towards God and as a result they may not even perceive or be able to feel Him. I know this from my own experience. So receiving love from Christians around us can help to soften our heart, soften to the point where we can perceive Him and respond to Him. I think that is why Love is considered greater than Faith or Hope. God showed His love to the world and commanded us to do the same to the people around us.

    May God bless you! – Mark.

  43. As I was reading this article, I thought it was wonderful, and thoughtful, and made me feel good (except for the part about criticizing your kids makes them critical- I am guilty of this and am trying to be less critical, pray for me – or maybe my kids. This part of the article stung me a little, and I deserved it). Here’s the big “but” – something seemed a little skewed or maybe a little out of balance. “Loving myself” seems to be a bit contrary to the gospel message. 2
    Tim. 3, for one example, or how Jesus, Paul, and the apostles used God’s law to show us our true nature. That we are have an inherent sin nature. That while we were sinners we were enemies to God. I see largely too much self love in this world. It is when we see ourselves as he sees us – as hopelessly lost and with no hope of saving ourselves and not deserving salvation that we get the glimpse of true love. In spite of our love for ourselves he died for us. We were haters of God, deserving eternal separation from Him. Derek Ashton kind of hit it out of the park. I thought he was right on.

  44. Mark,

    I’d like to offer a slightly different perspective. Is it possible that the command, “love your neighbor as yourself” is not prescriptive (i.e., a command to love yourself) but descriptive (a realistic acknowledgment of the fact that all of us fallen human beings naturally love ourselves above all others)? In these verses, God might be saying, “Just the same way you’ve loved yourself, focused on yourself, made yourself the center, considered yourself as very important, desired the best things for yourself, fed and clothed yourself – in just the same way, do these things for others.”

    On the other hand, I believe the Bible does teach us that we should love our own souls, but not in the “love your neighbor as yourself” verses. I find the affirmation of a proper self-love in these Proverbs:

    Pr 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.

    Pr 29:24 He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing.

    When we do things that are not in the best interest of our souls, we are truly hating ourselves in a sinful way. When we do what is good for our immortal souls, we love ourselves in a righteous way. But these are not commands to become more selfish or to love our lives “in this world.” Those approaches, I believe, are a hindrance to our sanctification and ultimate happiness in God.

    As I said, this is a slightly different perspective, and I hope it’s encouraging to you! Thanks for tackling what could possibly be a very controversial topic without flinching.

    Grace & Peace,
    Derek Ashton

  45. Thank you. This is exactly what I was searching for. I was in a horrible marriage for 13 years and lost every part of myself, trying to love others before me. I am now divorced but it was very recently I was told by a loving friend about the commandment to love myself. I am working daily at keeping this thought foremost in my mind and finding small ways to love myself. It is a slow process but it seems to be working and I am finding myself again. Thanks. 🙂

  46. This is a very good post. I am enjoying looking around your blog. Its a breath of fresh air from God everytime I come across a chrisian blog that speaks truth. Thanks for that!

  47. Thank you for the insight upon loving yourself. I have been struggling with that lately. The boundary of caring for and about myself and being self centered is a fine line to walk upon. This has greatly encouraged me.

  48. I have learned how to respect myself, the only thing missing was the grudge i held against my mother. Today i spoke with another christian and it came to me that i need to stop having a hard heart against my mother, due to my child rearing and teens. I noticed that i would respect everyone else, but i’m forgeting to love my mother. I called her and talked about some things that are bohtering me, however, i truly told her that “i love her very much with all my heart” and i began to cry. after the phone call, i realized how cold hearted i am with my mother, with tears pouring out. I’m not looking at things she does or have done and how they have been for now on, for Jesus has broken my hard heart toward my mother, and i will “show her the respect and love she deserves.” Please Love Your Mother, she’s the only one you have..

    • Some cannot go there, there is no grudge there, but the woman is still a nightmare and she is just waiting for another chance to be a monster. Some have to see it for what it is and let go and God knows we wanted a mother we could share life with. I am at peace about her, she told me certain things before she went too far. She never wanted me and i was a burden to her, as were the rest of the children she had. But she told me to go on my way and never look back, the one act of kindness out of all those years that stands out.

  49. Sorry to start of quite pesimistic but I believe that Self Hate/Self Shame is the Devil telling us what we have done wrong, e.g. “Oooo you cant do that, that is sinning”. The Devil then uses this to support little lies that he can tell you, e.g. “But last week you did this and that is horrible, which makes you a horrible person”. And he is slightly right. We are all horrible people, as in we all turned against God and tried to do it our way (Romans 3:10 – 12). BUT if the Loving God does see us as horrible people WAY DID HE SEND HIS ONLY SON TO SAVE US (practically most of the New Testament and what the Old Testament tells us about). If He did hate us He would smit us like swatting a fly, but a lot easier and faster. GOD IS THE ONLY ONE TO FULLY UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH HE LOVES US. To Him we are beautiful and special and to deny that is to deny God and who would want to enrage the one who controls everything?

    Also, if you truly love God you love all three parts of His Trinity (The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit/Ghost) and you would also love where-ever any of the three are. And, in 1 Corinthians 6:19 it says that we, HUMAN BEINGS, are the temple of the Holy Spirit, so again, to deny yourself is to deny God.

    Final little word, EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL AND SPECIAL IN THERE OWN INDEPENDANT WAY. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR EVERYONE AND HE KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU. IF YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO DIE UNMARRIED IT WILL HAPPEN HAPPILY BUT IF HE WANTS YOU TO GET MARRIED, YOU WILL GET MARRIED (the idea of love in marriage is just an example there as that isnt the only thing people with self shame/self hate have). God loves everyone, we just need to open our eyes, see why and stop listening to the devils lies about us.

    ANYWAY, that was suppose to be a comment not an essay.

    God bless

    Hi Nick, thanks for sharing. Yes the bible says: God loved us BEFORE we were saved… so how much more does He loves us now that we’re reunited to Him as His kids? It’s so cool. We should not let low self esteem and abuse affect how we think of ourselves in relation to Him. In spite of our problems and sins and addictions, GOD LOVES US and wants the best for us. God bless you! Mark.

  50. I’m hoping to do a talk for a youth service in July about self-image and came across this webpage during my research. It’s an interesting new perspective and has certainly inspired me, especially when you responded to John M. Kenney’s comment about how we are sometimes put through a lot, but in the end it helps us connect with others through our experiences for the glory of God. it’s good to see these things from different perspectives.

    take care and God bless you.

    Hi Jo (UK). I’m glad this helped. I have a few other posts that speak about the same thing. If I can help you in any other way, please let me know. God bless you as you help the youth. – Mark

  51. Hey, i’m from Malaysia. Came across this very interesting entry you wrote and I am encouraged by it. Will be sharing with my youth group this sunday. haha.. even a post last year can make a difference. As our God, the same, past, present and future!


    All the best with your sharing on Sunday Jason! God bless you – Mark.

  52. this is wonderful to know, because I have been very confused on this. and this really helped me to understand!
    thank you and God Bless

    Hi Greg – God loves you and He wants you to have an abundant life (John 10:10). Don’t let any religious person steal that promise from you. He wants you to be blessed SO THAT you can bless others. – Mark.

  53. WOW!!!! Thanks so much for this insight. It is not amazing how God speaks to us through others …..it just is his loving, generous way…..

    Gods many Blessings to You!

    Hi Cheryl – I’m very glad you were blessed. – Mark.

  54. Hi Mark!

    Thank you for your posts, they’re very helpful. I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and I’m trying to start my own too.

    I put a link of your blog on mine – is it ok with u? You can check http://saldanmar.blogspot.com/ and if you want me to take it out, pls let me know.

    God Bless! Maria

    Hi maria. Thanks for your comments. You’re welcome to link to me (no need to ask). – Mark.

  55. It took me 20 years to do this truth, Mark. That’s why I got into so much rebellion-because I couldn’t love myself. Hate and love are so close together, you see. Thanks man.

    Hi John. When I think about WHY God allowed you and I (and others) to go through this, it’s because He wants us to help others. If we didn’t go through it, how could we be compassionate and understand what people are experiencing? – Mark.

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