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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Love Yourself But Don't Be Selfish

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  June 5, 2019 --

The one who acquires good sense loves himself; one who safeguards understanding finds success. Proverbs 19:8

“You are not to seek vengeance or hold a grudge against the descendants of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

As children, most of us have been told on numerous occasions: “don’t be selfish; share what you have; be nice to other people.” Some of us have been scolded for our selfishness to the point where we might think of ourselves as no-good selfish brats. This can lead to a feeling of not being worthy. This in turn can lead to unhappiness. We have lost our self-respect. Others we know may have reacted in the other direction, becoming more and more selfish. Neither one is the correct way to go.

There is a huge difference between self-respect and Ego. Self-respect is the respect you have for yourself while ego is a feeling of self-importance. Self-importance leads inevitably to selfishness and a disregard to the needs of others. Self-respect leads to happiness. There is no need to be ashamed of oneself. We read in Genesis “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

The Bible quotes above pretty much set the boundaries on loving oneself. We are made in God’s image, and we should love everything that God has made, therefore we should love ourselves. But we are also instructed to love other people as much as we love ourselves. In the Gospel of John, Jesus, at the Last Supper, tells his disciples “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

And lastly, a warning: Examine yourself. Are you doing nice things for others just to make yourself feel good or to make you look good in the eyes of others? Rather we should be kind to each other and do good for others with complete lack of selfishness. Consider others to be at least as worthy as yourself, if not more so.



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