Self-care - Hope 103.2


By David ReayFriday 10 Mar 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Mark 12:28-31

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (NIV)

When we tell someone they love themselves we don’t mean it as a compliment. And yet part of the great, bottom-line commandment seems to be a sort of self-love. It appears that loving self is related to love of others which in turn is an offshoot of loving God. Given that we can’t see it meaning blowing kisses to ourselves in the mirror each morning, what might it mean?

Any moderately healthy individual will seek to treat themselves well, to advance their welfare, to look after themselves. We seek our good. This can be gross egocentricity, but more often it is just a natural and even proper care for ourselves. Again, any moderately healthy individual will be well aware of his or her shortcomings. So we know we are imperfect and sometimes get upset or even angry at ourselves but don’t let this awareness lead to self-neglect.

Now apply that to our attitude to others. We seek their good even though we are well aware of their shortcomings. The great commandment seems to be saying that love for others accepts their limitations yet goes on seeking their good. Just as we go on seeking our good while facing our imperfections.

Conversely, if I despise myself because of my failings I will likely despise others because of their failings. If I don’t think I am worth looking after, chances are I won’t bother looking after others. Or if I do, it will be as a miserable martyr, slaving my insides out in the service of others to somehow bury my self-hatred.

So take care of yourself and in doing so you will be free to take care of others. The two loves are not in competition but rather necessary companions in carrying out the great commandment.

David Reay

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