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Featured Does God require us to love ourselves?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Trailblazer, May 8, 2021.

  1. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Does God require us to love ourselves?

    I don’t know anywhere in scriptures of my religion where it says we have to love ourselves. I don’t know if it says that in the Bible or any other religious scriptures.

    I believe that we should at least like ourselves but I do not believe we have to love ourselves because I consider that narcissistic. I do not care what psychologists say about how we should love ourselves since I go by what religion teaches. I do not want to love myself because I consider that selfish. I want to love God and other people and animals, but why do I have to love myself?

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    What made me think to post this is that sometimes I hate myself over things that really don’t matter at all. I do not really hate myself, I just feel guilty about something I did, but I feel even guiltier about things I am not doing. I realize that it is because I feel guilty that I hate myself, as guilt and self-hate are very much connected. When I get like this I will talk to myself out loud and tell myself I do not even deserve to live or even breathe air. It is possible these feelings are some relics from my childhood, as both my parents had psychological issues and addiction problems and the children were emotionally abandoned.

    I do not remember much of my early childhood, just a few snapshots, and it is possible there was some abuse and I have repressed memories. I worked through my childhood issues in counseling and 12 step groups for over 15 years so I came to a point where I was not going to benefit from any more counseling. The counselors don’t think I need counseling because I am very self-aware and know what I need to do to take care of my problems, yet the feelings sometimes persist. I should mention I do have PTSD from the sudden death of my father when I was 12 years old, so that could be the main problem, as I remember feeling normal and even happy before that. After that my mother started drinking heavily and my sister and I started taking street drugs during our teenage years.

    In the distant past I blamed my husband for everything. More recently when in a discussion with my husband I will blame him, but then I realize that it is me that I blame. That is not to say there are not things he does or does not do that bother me a lot, but he has never been hateful or mean to me the way I am sometimes am towards him. Sometimes I hate him, but I know why I hate him, because I am worried he is going to die like my father did and leave me all alone. I don’t hate him because he won’t mow the yard or clean the house; I hate him because he won’t take care of his health. So in my mind I am trying to accept that he might die and it is better to hate him than to love him and feel the pain of loss when he dies.

    Death hangs over me like a pall; not my own death, but the death of those I love. I feel like everyone has died and left me alone, and that is not just a feeling because that is what has really happened. First my father died and then my sister and then my mother, so all I have left besides my husband is a brother I never talk to, and he could be dead for all I know. Everyone I love has died, except my husband and the few cats I have l left. :(

    I often wonder about this Bible verse.

    Job 1:21 King James Version

    21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.


    Why does it say “blessed be the name of the Lord”? Why is the Lord’s name blessed given all that the Lord takes away from us? I just don't get it. :confused:
     
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  2. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    We are fortunate if we can love ourselves for the right reasons. The two loves I would implore people to find is loving yourself for the right reasons, or living out repentant mercy on one's self.

    If God were real then the ultimate goal is perfect love for others and self.

    There's lots of things that don't deserve love. But a loving person deserves love.
     
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  3. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    "Love your neighbor as yourself". Mk. 12:30-31. You are to love yourself. You cannot love your neighbor as yourself, if you hate yourself. You are commanded to love yourself.

    To love yourself is NOT narcissism. To hate yourself is narcissism. It is also sin. It is hating what God loves, namely, you. To love yourself, is grace. It is self-forgiveness. It is humility. If you can love yourself, if you can show grace to yourself, if you can show compassion to yourself, then you are capable of forgiving others, showing compassion to others, showing grace to others. You have to first know grace and self-love, before you can truly see another with the same Grace shown to you. You have to know it in yourself first.
     
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  4. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    I don't know whether or not God "does require something at all". Seems strange to phrase it that way for me
     
  5. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Veteran Member
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    This doesn't sound like a debate, honestly. It sounds like you need a hug.
    :hugehug:
     
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  6. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    Excellent use of Scripture in reasoning on the subject!

    I was trying to think of something...but you got it. Great job!
     
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  7. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    Just the fact that you recognize your own shortcomings and flaws, and dislike them ...that alone goes a long way in God’s eyes!
    Psalms 34:18.

    Remember, it’s the Devil that has the means to cause bad things to happen, even death. — Hebrews 2:14
     
    #7 Hockeycowboy, May 8, 2021
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  8. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

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    @Trailblazer it seems like you do know the answers to your own questions :) But maybe you are not ready to fully accept the answers you have found? (i can be wrong on this)

    The emotions you feel about life, family and friends or God is coming from within you, Those around you are a piece of the puzzle that you also play. I think you going through all this emotions and hardships for a reason, and the reason may be different than what other people goes through in their life.
    You ask why the Lord take away everything you love, but is it really the Lord who do it? isn`t death around us a natural part of life? or do you want everyone around you to never go away, never die of old age?
    Of course it is hard to lose someone we love, it happend to me too. But life goes on, does it not? You can not stop living your life just because others has finished their time on earth and moving on. You are inmportant to your own wellbeing, rigtht?
    I think people are stuck in the past and have difficulty to live in the present moment, because we "miss" what we had, but have difficulty to discover or create a new "happy time" in the present moment.

    Being in a relationship with someone, be it humans or our animal friends, mean we one day will experience that they are gone, if we are not the one who leave first. deep inside you, you know it is a part of life. but maybe you are not ready to accept that it is not God who punish you but it is a part of life?

    Sorry if this answer is brutally honest from my side? i do not wish to put you deeper in to sadness.
     
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  9. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    True self-love is not love of the lower self, the personal ego. It's a recognition that we all have a pure Divine light at the core of our being, what some call a soul. That Divinity has nothing but love to give. All that's asked in return is that we surrender our strengths AND our weaknesses, our positive and our negative qualities. The more we can do that or even if we long to be able to do that, there is the grace, self-forgiveness and humility @Windwalker wrote about.
     
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  10. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Your fears are very understandable given your history. But death is inevitable for all of us.....the older I get, the more I have to face my own mortality and that of my mother and siblings. My mother is 96.

    Death is described in the Bible as an "enemy" because it was never supposed to happen...we have no 'program' for death and the loss of those we love. We have no 'program' for the loss of our youth, either. It is all as foreign to us today as it was thousands of years ago. God intended that the human race should live forever with their family members, in peace and happiness forever.....but someone stole that from us......so Jesus came to get it back. No one lost in this world will stay lost forever unless they have earned God's punishment of "Gehenna"....not torment in an eternal fire, but simply eternal death. God has no reason or will to torture anyone. The majority presently sleep in death, awaiting a resurrection back to life on earth, reunited with their lost loved ones, never to be separated again. Broken hearts and relationships will be mended by genuine love....and we will fulfill our first mandate to 'fill the earth' and bring it back to the paradise conditions that we lost. What God starts, he finishes. (Isaiah 55:11)

    God wants us to live the way he first intended.....and the only way to do that is the keep the faith and all the commands that Jesus taught.

    If you read the whole account you will. You cannot take isolated verses out of context and expect them to make sense.....

    In all of Job's trials, he was unaware of who was causing his tragic losses. He was puzzled because some had suggested that God was punishing him for something bad that he had dome but he knew in his heart that wasn't true.

    Job 2:9-10 we find that Job's grieving wife, who had endured all those losses too, told him to "curse God and die" so that it would all stop. But he said to her...
    “You are talking like one of the senseless women. Should we accept only what is good from the true God and not accept also what is bad?” In all of this, Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10)

    Not once did Job ascribe anything improper to God.

    In Job 1:21, Job did not know that it was satan who had taken the lives of his children, so he said that because he loved his God that much, that he trusted that what was happening was for a reason, or God would not have done that. He was willing to wait and have God give him an explanation, but it was a tough time for him because, what if God was punishing him for some reason that he was not aware of?

    Job came to represent all of us when tested out by the devil, which is why his story is in the Bible. Satan said that we would all curse God to his face if he was allowed to test us too. How many have done that compared to those who have stuck to God, knowing that the reward for doing so will be big as it was in Job's case.

    The book of Job ends with....
    "So Jehovah blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the beginning, and Job came to have 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 pairs of cattle, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He also came to have seven more sons and three more daughters. . . . . No women in all the land were as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers.

    16 After this Job lived for 140 years, and he saw his children and his grandchildren—four generations. 17 Finally Job died, after a long and satisfying life."


    The ten children Job lost would never be replaced by the ten who came later, but in the resurrection that Job believed in, all of his children will be there with his wife and himself to enjoy eternity together in paradise on earth.

    This can be our experience too I believe, because supporting our God when he is being maligned by opposers is our duty, and a proof that we are not just "fair weather Christians". We will serve Him especially when things are tough, knowing where it is coming from.
     
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  11. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    First, I'm very sorry to hear of the gremlins in your life. Who was that lady in the tall black hat at your christening, by the way?

    Second, as a generalization, since only you know how relevant it might be, some religions, and some ministers of religion, are strong on selling guilt, a practice I consider deeply immoral. I read you above as (apparently) not doing that, and I hope that's correct.

    Third, I wish you luck. If a big hug would help, consider it yours.
     
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  12. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Mark 12:30-31
    30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.


    31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

    No, we are not commanded to love ourselves. "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" means to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself, meaning not to love yourself more than you love your neighbor.

    I am not recommending hating yourself, but one could still love their neighbor even if they hated themselves. God does not want people to hate themselves, but God does not command us to love ourselves.

    “Loving yourself first” (before you can love others)

    Many people think the “cure” to a poor self-image is to learn to love yourself.

    In fact, some people think Jesus said you must love yourself before you can love others. They support this idea by pointing to Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). They think “as yourself” means you cannot love others unless you first love yourself. As you will see, that’s not what Jesus was saying.

    If we aren’t called to love ourselves, does that mean we should hate ourselves? No. God doesn’t want you to go through life saying, “I hate myself.”

    The alternative to loving yourself is not hating yourself. It is to fully grasp and enjoy God’s love for you.

    Did Jesus make loving yourself a third commandment?

    The phrase “love your neighbor as yourself” comes from Jesus’ answer to the question, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36). Let’s look at the full passage:

    Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

    In this passage, Jesus said there are two great commandments, one of which is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:34-40).

    If we say we can’t love others until we love ourselves, we are essentially saying Jesus gave us a third commandment. In fact, without realizing it, we are suggesting that to love yourself is the second greatest commandment, for we are saying it comes before the commandment to love others. We are saying that loving ourselves is a precondition to loving other people.

    Notice that Jesus said, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40). He didn’t say “on these three commandments.”

    Jesus was (and is) a superb communicator. He would have said “on these three commandments” if that was what he meant. But that’s not what he meant. He did not give us a third commandment.

    Throughout the Bible, we are commanded to love others—without being told to “love ourselves first.” For example:

    A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

    Do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14)

    Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 54:)

    This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.: (1 john3:11)

    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18)

    Did Jesus say to love yourself first?

    Jesus simply said to love others “as yourself.” He didn’t say to love others after you love yourself. That’s just something people read into the passage.

    Let me illustrate another way you could read into this passage — and be just as wrong: Imagine that I hate myself. Since Jesus said to love my neighbor “as myself,” does this mean I should hate my neighbor since I hate myself? After all, I am supposed to love my neighbor the same way I love myself. (I’m sure you would agree it’s obvious this isn’t what Jesus was saying.)

    When Jesus said to love your neighbor, he wasn’t saying to love your neighbor after you love yourself. And he wasn’t saying to hate your neighbor if you hate yourself.

    He was simply saying to love other people.

    Loving myself: Jesus did not say to love yourself first. Loving yourself misses his main point. | Doug Britton Books
    You cannot make up your own definition of narcissism.

    narcissism: excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one's physical appearance.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=narcissism+definition

    To hate yourself is not narcissism. To hate yourself is not a sin just because God loves you. That is twisted logic and nowhere in any scriptures does it say hating oneself is a sin. Don't you think the All-Knowing God understands if people hate themselves and why they do? Don't you think God would have compassion upon them? Who are we hurting but our own selves? That is not like hating others and hurting them.
    I am sorry, I do not buy any of this because it is not anything that comes from scriptures. Rather, it is your overlay to the scriptures combined with psychology and personal opinions. I know I can show compassion towards others and forgive others even if I do not love myself because I have done it. Even if I do not exercise compassion and forgiveness towards myself I can still show compassion towards others and forgive them..... because I can separate myself from other people and realize they are not me.
     
    #12 Trailblazer, May 9, 2021
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  13. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Yes, that is probably the case and thanks for picking up on that and for the big hug.:)

    Sometimes I do not realize how I am really feeling until start writing. I do not really want a debate but I am open to people's opinions if they are based upon scriptures. I really do what to do what God wants me to do and that is why I asked what God requires. I do not think God requires that we love ourselves even if God desires that. There is a difference between a desire and a requirement.
     
  14. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    A long time ago, I went through that phase believing that it was God punishing me when my cats died. Do you know what my own brother told me that about 20 years ago? He told me God was killing my cats to teach me a lesson and God would keep killing them until I learned my lesson. The lesson was not to be attached to my cats.

    Back then I did not know the Baha'i Writings well enough to understand that was not what was happening, so I hated God because I thought He was deliberately causing cats to die. Thus started about 10 years of hating God, until one day I accidentally discovered the Planet Baha'i forum and those kind and knowledgeable Baha'is helped to straighten me out. However, he was my older brother I had looked up to and he was a Baha'i, so it really stuck in my mind for years.

    Now I know that death is just part of life, not God trying to punish me, but since God created a world where living things will die, ultimately God is responsible for death, and there is no way around that if we are to be logical. Was there any other way God could have created the world and life so nothing would ever have to die? I am not God but I cannot see any other way, because in order for new life to be born and live in the world, people and animals have to die or the world would soon be overpopulated. God's solution fir us is that we do not really die, only our body dies but the soul lives on and gets another kind of body in the spiritual world. I believe that animals also live on in spirit.
     
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  15. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

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    Your answer here is written with a lot from your heart :) It is ok to not understand why god does what God do.
    To hate or dislike someone or something seldom lead to an answer that enlighten us.
    But i do see value in the comment of not being attached to our pets or other aspects of our life.
     
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  16. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I had to satisfy my own curiosity as to what the Baha'i Faith teaches on loving ourselves so I did a Google search and I found an article. Below is an excerpt from the article.

    "From a spiritual perspective, this disorder of extreme selfishness represents one of the most malignant diseases of the human mind and spirit. The Baha’i writings say that excessive self-love and narcissism can actually destroy the soul and cause every positive character trait to “fade or pass away.” In a letter to a Baha’i who asked about this crucial subject, Abdu’l-Baha said:

    All these wishes are well worthy of asking, especially the rescue from self-love. This is a strange trait and the means of the destruction of many important souls in the world. If man be imbued with all the good qualities, but be selfish, all the other virtues will fade or pass away, and eventually he will grow worse.

    I hope the beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful will be entirely freed from selfishness. Should this become their nature they will indeed become manifestations of great bounties and the doors of divine grace will open.
    Abdu’l-Baha, from a tablet to an American believer dated 30 November 1904.

    From:
    Do You Love Yourself?
     
  17. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    Never really thought about it to be honest. But now that you mention it and I give it some thoughts, I neither feel hate or love towards myself, I just is or what to say, it all depends on what I have done :)

    Personally I try to simply live by not hurting anyone else and be helpful towards others within reason. Also I don't really care spending time on being mad or angry at others, if it is close friends or family I let them know if I have a problem with what they are doing, if they don't care to stop (which have never happened) then I would tell them to **** off, and simply stop spending time with them and treat them as if they were strangers.

    Since im an atheist, I could potentially act like a complete idiot towards others and I wouldn't feel any high power judging me. So for me I guess it is completely "feelings" driven, about how I feel about doing certain things and not doing others etc. So again going around and being angry and mad at others over pointless things or spending time with people that annoys me, is not really worth it for me.

    Anyway this is simply to make you smile since I know you love cats :D

     
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  18. Shakeel

    Shakeel Active Member

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    Define love.

    People who have the correct beliefs, don't need to fear death. Of course, all humans try to not die for the time being and that is natural. But there is a difference between the fear of a disbeliever and the fear of a believer when it comes to death.

    Muslims always praise Allah when someone dies.
     
  19. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    There are many definitions of love and many different kinds of love.
    I do not fear my own death, I fear death of those I love and the separation that ensues.
    I find that nonbelievers do not fear death, it is believers who fear death. Have you had a different experience?
    Why do Muslims praise Allah when someone dies?
     
  20. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    It is the same way for me, how I feel about myself depends upon what I have done or not done. :)
     
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