What does the Bible say about loving yourself?

Psalm 139:14 declares, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

The concept of self-love and self-compassion is a topic of significant importance in both religious and secular contexts. While the phrase "love yourself" may not be explicitly mentioned in the Bible, the Scriptures provide profound insights and principles that encourage individuals to cultivate a healthy sense of self-worth and compassion.

One of the foundational teachings regarding self-love in the Bible is found in the commandment given by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 22:39, where he states, "Love your neighbor as yourself." This directive implies that loving oneself is a natural and necessary precursor to loving others. It acknowledges the inherent value and worth of each individual, affirming the importance of self-care and self-respect as the foundation for healthy relationships and community.

In addition to the command to love one's neighbor as oneself, the Bible contains numerous passages that emphasize the significance of recognizing one's intrinsic worth and treating oneself with kindness and respect. Psalm 139:14 declares, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." This verse underscores the idea that each person is uniquely created and valued by God, deserving of appreciation and acceptance, including self-acceptance.

Furthermore, the apostle Paul's exhortation in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 emphasizes the sanctity of the human body as a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. It states, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." This passage underscores the importance of caring for oneself as a reflection of reverence for the divine presence within.

While the Bible encourages individuals to embrace self-love and self-care, it also provides cautionary guidance against excessive pride, selfishness, and self-centeredness. The apostle Paul's admonition in Philippians 2:3-4 advises, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." This verse highlights the importance of balancing self-love with humility and consideration for others, fostering an attitude of compassion and empathy.

Ultimately, the biblical perspective on self-love reflects a holistic approach that integrates a healthy sense of self-worth with humility, gratitude, and concern for the well-being of others. It emphasizes the need for individuals to recognize their inherent value as creations of God, while also acknowledging the interconnectedness of all humanity and the call to love and serve others.

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Jamie Larson