The greatest enemy of the Church, the lost, and all humanity is self-love — and it was ushered in and blessed by well-known psychologists, Christian and celebrity leaders.
Do you believe the greatest lie ever told? That’s the lie that says until you love yourself, you can’t love anyone else.
The truth is that if you love yourself you can’t love anyone else. The worst thing you could ever do for yourself is to love yourself. Loving yourself will wreck your life. “Experts” and well-known pastors and Christian leaders tell us the answer to self-hate is self-love. The truth is that self-hate is equal to self-love. Both are selfish; both are self-focused, both require a me-first perspective.
The answer to self-hate and self-love is the same — dying to self. This is why Jesus said, save your life and you lose it; lay it down for Him and you find it. Your life is not even about you. It’s way bigger and more important than that. Your life is about God and others. Just think about it for a minute. If you’re empty, how do you imagine there is something in you, which is missing in you. If it’s in you, then it’s not missing. There is nothing in us that can fill us or we would be full. Only Jesus, who is love, can fill us.
Just the term, self-love, is a lie. Self-love is not love at all; it’s selfishness. There is no such thing as self-love because the moment it’s me putting me first — it’s no longer loving at all.
Nowhere in God’s Word does it tell us to love ourselves. Instead, God’s Word tells us, “Greater love has no one than to lay down their life for their friend.” Thank God Jesus didn’t love himself. Some argue the greatest commandment, which says, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” suggests we must first love ourselves before we can love our neighbor. If that is what that scripture means, then the standard for loving my neighbor is how I love myself. If I don’t love myself, then my commandment would be to not love my neighbor. Just think about it a minute. The standard for how I love my neighbor is not how I love myself. It’s how Jesus loves me. His Word tells us to love as He loves. His Word tells us to die to ourselves. The greatest commandment tells us to love as we want to be loved. It’s telling us to put ourselves in our neighbors’ shoes.
We are not like a cup that must be full to love others. That is another lie. We are a conduit — like a water hose. We can be empty, dried up, and all but dead and, in a moment, we can choose to love from our brokenness. In a moment, we can say, never mind me — I will do what is truly best for you without regard for myself; and in that moment, from our emptiness, we love. When we love, the power of love that comes from God flows through us to someone else. It’s not from us and it’s not for us. The love is from God through us, for others. But we get filled up in the process. The more we love, the more God flows through us. The more love flows through us, the more love changes us and fills us and makes us whole.
Love is not found in what we do, but why we do it. If it’s me for me, it’s not loving. Love is doing what is truly best for someone else without regard for self. Love is sacrifice. Love always costs us something, but never more than not loving costs us.
If we can just love ourselves whole, who needs Jesus? So please quit trying to love yourself so you can love others. Get in the “The Right Fight… to live a loving life.” Living a loving life is the best possible thing you can do for yourself, but if you try to live a loving life for yourself, you are living a selfish life, not a loving life.
Kenny Vaughan is a Christian author, a husband, father of three, a licensed minister, a world-class athlete, a popular inspirational speaker, social media influencer and founder of Shields of Strength. For years, he sought out psychologists and faith leaders to understand more about love but only heard the lie of self-love. More recently, he has directly challenged nationally- and internationally-recognized faith and celebrity authorities on love.
Vaughan’s @johnkennedyvaughan Instagram posts about love and faith are inspiring a growing audience across the globe. His latest book, “The Right Fight: How to Live a Loving Life” and “The Right Fight Study Guide,” dispel the universal myth of self-love and pull the curtain back on the truth about loving others: available at https://www.shieldsofstrength.com/ and on Amazon.