Me First! Me Only!

1 Corinthians 13:5

One of the main reasons Christians frown on teachings about โ€œself-loveโ€ is that a lot of people believe such teachings will encourage people to become selfish. This is a very valid fear, as we live in a time when we are already battling heavily with the โ€œme first!โ€ attitude of the world. We must be cautious not to misinterpret one as the other; โ€œSelf-loveโ€ is having a healthy regard for oneโ€™s own well being and happiness, while โ€œselfishnessโ€ is being so preoccupied with our own selves that we lack consideration for other people.

To be honest, as human beings, putting other people first is not a natural reaction. We are instinctively wired for self-preservation. Now, having a sense of self-preservation is a good thing, and is an important component of loving oneself. It means that we will avoid the things that bring us hurt and pain; that we understand that our feelings, wants and needs should matter. The problems come up however, when we do not extend this same courtesy to other people.

When we want other people to put us into consideration, but we do not reciprocate; when we constantly do things that will favour only ourselves; when we constantly put ourselves first; when we do not consider the feelings of others and the toes we step on in this our quest to get what we want- this is no longer self-preservation, but selfishness.

โ€œLove is not self-seekingโ€ means that while acknowledging that we would not want others to insist on their own way if it would bring us pain, we understand that other people also feel this way and so we go out of our way to make sure that their needs and feelings are taken care of.

In Phillipians 2:3-5, we are told, โ€œDo nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesusโ€. We cannot do this in our own strength however, we need to daily ask God for the grace to love unselfishly.

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