“Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money…unloving…lovers of pleasure instead of God. Holding to a form of godliness…” (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
“God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
Several years ago, many books were written on the subject of learning to love yourself, which 2 Timothy 3 prophesizes as a part of the end times. This theme gave birth to numerous classes, conferences and a general acceptance among psychotherapists. Today, this position is accepted by many as an axiom (i.e., emotional problems are to be treated by helping patients to learn to love and accept themselves as this will unlock many locked doors that contain trauma, insecurity, abuse). Although this approach has insight, it is incomplete.
During the days that this self-love position gained such wide-spread acceptance, I can’t remember reading or hearing once that loving yourself can be related to a person becoming unloving (perhaps the audience didn’t want to hear this). I found that if a person primarily stresses loving themselves, they can easily lose the needed focus upon the needs of others, and the vulnerable trust that is being freely given.
From this “me first” approach came many self-centered thoughts and behaviors such as the examples of many parents who felt that they needed better partners to feel good and to learn to love themselves. They felt that what was good for them must be good for the children in spite of the trauma the children had to go through as they were threatening, and often destroying, what the children had been trusting in; their family’s security. They destroyed what is the foundation of much of a child’s emotional security and hope for the future. Further, the divorce rate skyrocketed. Often, the children spent years recovering from the domestic trauma.
This unbalanced scenario is still commonly practiced today by both deceived mothers and fathers. This scenario is actually a deception. It is: a “scheme of the devil” (Eph. 6:11); which “the father of lies” (John 8:44) invented. God’s children are to love Him with all their heart, soul and mind (Matt.22:37), and this love is to be the foundation that all a Christian’s love is to grow from. This powerful love is self-sacrificing. Christmas is the great example of self-sacrificing love.