Self-love or Self-Denial?
It’s popular to talk about self-love and it’s popular to talk about self-denial, depending on your social circle. My circle hosts plenty of discussions around both.
THE SELF-DENIAL TRAIN
Those who are preaching about self-denial think they are the only ones but they’re not… They’re part of a popular majority that smacks of self-righteousness, stemming from fear and control. Self-denial is typically self-righteously heralded like the ultimate, holy grail of Christianity. Walls of criticism go up left and right, especially if you wash your face… 😂
THE SELF-LOVE TRAIN
And then there are those who are on the self-promoted, self-love train so completely that no one else exists and no one else matters. They’re looking out for #1 and they’ll even step on you to get there, under the name of self-evolving.. Sometimes it smacks of mean selfishness. Walls go up left and right so they can protect their bubble that contains only things that give them all the happy vibes.
All the walls and all the opinions make me tired. If I’m honest, I put up some of my own walls and I have my own opinions and I’m not always loving with the delivery of my opinions.
What does the bible say?
So I took a time-out and read about love and denial in the bible. Both can be found the whole way through the bible. For Christians, Jesus taught self-love as well as self-denial. So, both are important… and maybe we’re misunderstanding both of them.
Jesus: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22–39 (Ah, so you need to love yourself in order to love your neighbor!)
Jesus: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:24–26
Jesus: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
Ah, yes, Jesus did say that those of the Kingdom are known by their love. Did we forget that one?
The world prostitutes things.
And the church shames things.
While the Divine Kingdom Dimension celebrates and delights and loves and moves to the beat of the heart of the Holy Trinity with divine justice and ultimate redemption…
Maybe neither the world nor the church can help us understand the true meaning of love and it's intended Kingdom applications... Maybe we have to go inward and get to know God for ourselves with the help of the Holy Spirit to understand real love.
Maybe we can love Rachel Hollis in her process and we can love T.D. Jakes in his process and we can love John Piper in his process and we can learn from each others’ insights.
Maybe we can understand that we all really need each other.
Maybe it doesn’t help to villainize each other, even though I’m just as guilty as the next person for villainizing someone that I don’t agree with.
Maybe we could learn how to stop cutting people off just because we have a disagreement or two with them. Instead, we can take a break from them when we need to, set better boundaries and articulate our expectations with grace.
Maybe we could be whole enough to not be afraid of confrontation because we have learned how to have self-control through our self-love (to know how loved we are by God) and self-denial (to come into alignment with the Kingdom).
Maybe we can put human connection as a priority in the relationship so our bridge burning days could be over. Maybe we could use our disagreements as opportunities to understand each other.
Let your Kingdom come, Jesus.
To quote my pastor, God may be getting ready to resurrect some people and He might want you to help. That takes some supernatural love.
Lately, I’ve been asking myself, am I known for how I love?
No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love... We have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. —From 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter)
Beloved, I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health - that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul! —3 John 1:2