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What Is The Greatest Love Of All? Is It Loving Yourself?
There is a popular song that is called, "The Greatest Love Of All." The song describes the greatest love as loving yourself. But is loving yourself really the greatest love of all?
We live in a time where self-esteem and self-love is important. People believe that in order to be truly happy, they must love themselves and love their life. Self is something that is very big today.
Webster's Dictionary describes selfishness as "that supreme self-love or self-preference which leads a person to direct his purposes to the advancement of his own interests, power or happiness."You could say that the world today is obsessed with selfishness. For what is selfishness if not love of self and putting self first?
It is said that in order to be honest and fair to others, love of self is important for if you do not love yourself, you will not be able to love another. The words of Jesus, "Love thy neighbor as thyself," can be used as an argument for loving yourself because the same love you would give to yourself is the same love that you should have for your neighbor. But if you love your neighbor as yourself, then you would give all for your neighbor. In the words of Christ ,what I have concluded, is that for me to love my neighbor I must always be thinking what I would like for myself and then doing that for my neighbor. In loving my neighbor, I must die to myself, and those around me need to come first. In loving my neighbor, any love I have for myself must be given to my neighbor instead.
In reference to the greatest love, Jesus said :
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13. K.J.V.
When someone lays down his life for his friend, he is being selfless and placing his friend's life before his. He is making his friend important and loving his friend more than he loves himself. In order to die for another, love of self cannot be in the heart for the love of self that is in the heart is taken out and given to another. Love of self cannot dwell in a heart that wants to love its neighbor. It has to change into love of others.
Have you ever turned the lens of a camera so that it focuses on one thing and everything else goes fuzzy in the background? Have you ever noticed this done in movies so that your whole attention is focused on the subject they want you to focus on? This is what it is like when loving yourself. All else fades in the background and the picture of what is going on around you is fuzzy. How can you focus on others and love them if your love is focused on you?
If loving yourself is the greatest love of all, then why, in his second letter to Timothy, Chapter 3, did Paul say:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." ?
He says that men shall be lovers of themselves in the last days and then he explains what these lovers of themselves will be like. All of the traits named after Paul says that men will love themselves fit perfectly in the profile of what self love can cause. For if you love yourself you will want what you deem what is best for yourself and so you will covet. You will boast because you will find yourself to be great. You will feel proud of the person you are. These things lead to disobedience, blasphemies, lies and despising all that is good. For loving yourself causes you to become your own lord and master with your own rules.
But if you take that love and give it to your neighbor, instead of covetous you will be generous. Instead of boasting in yourself you will praise others and humble yourself. You will be grateful and obedient because you give what you would like to be given to you and yet not expect it back.You will love God for you will have denied yourself your self love and in doing so find the greatest love of all which is the love of God.