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"Loving God, Loving Myself" Week One, Day Two -- Can You Love Yourself Too Much?"

Christianity does not come in order to develop the heroic virtues in the individual, but rather to remove self-centeredness and establish love.


—Soren Kierkegaard


Can you love yourself too much?


It’s a surprising question, but it’s one we’ve been asked. We never anticipated it would be a counseling issue. Yet we have read personal commentaries and heard people express their opposition to the teaching that we should love ourselves: “We already do that too much. This is the problem in our churches and in the world.”


What do people mean when they think of loving oneself too much? Some might picture a person who is arrogant, controlling, and always certain she is right. She looks down on others because she thinks so highly of herself.


On the other hand is the individual who is needy for affection, attention, and emotional support—self-absorbed? He wants people to take care of him and wait on him. This person may be judged as loving himself too much because of his self-centeredness: “It’s always about him.”


Look closely at the characteristics of each kind of person—both the puffed-up and the needy—and you will find things missing from God’s description of what love looks like:


Love endures with patience and serenity.

Love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious.

Love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.

It is not rude.It is not self-seeking.

It is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered].

It does not take into account a wrong endured.

It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail].

Love bears all things [regardless of what comes].

Love believes all things [looking for the best in each one].

Love hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times].

Love endures all things [without weakening]

(1 Cor. 13:4–7, adapted from AMP).


If God says this is what love is, I wouldn’t mind living in a world that loves “too much.” With his definition of love, there could only be one person who could ever have the capacity and perfection that way—God himself. When he describes himself, he says, “I am love” (1 John 4:8, 16). And that is more than enough.


God has a plan for those who are self-centered, prideful, arrogant, self-absorbed. It is called healing—healing from a wound caused by a lack of love, affection, affirmation, belonging, safety, encouragement, and guidance when a child was growing up.


So can you love yourself too much? According to the Father, absolutely not.


Prayer


Father, you’ve called me to love you, myself, and others. Please help me to see love the way you do. I need your definition of love and nothing else. Forgive me for the times when I have misused this word and misrepresented it to others. And help me also to extend grace to those who are operating from a wound and speaking against the very thing that is central to your heart—loving ourselves and each other. When confronted with this attitude, help me to pray for them rather than judge. Thank you, Father, for being love.


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To listen to this post, narrated by Jerry and Denise, click here:  LGLM - Can You Love Yourself Too Much Audio File


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