Monday, November 12, 2012

Self-Love or Selfless Love

How important is it to have our own feelings and desires met? Is it not better, rather, to give ourselves and our time to God and to the service of other people?

When we spurn the idea of worshipping God and helping others, we naturally default to our own needs, desires and wants — to get a lasting sense of self-fulfillment and satisfaction. After all, our feelings and desires live in that big, overly expansive room, in our thinking, that takes up so much space we have no room for thoughts of other people’s needs. The greater the ego, the more we banish the thoughts of spending our time with God, or on the poor, the downtrodden, the elderly, the homeless, the sick and the widows.

Gratification of our own needs, pleasures and desires builds our sole habitat; a very lonely place to dwell. Left to our own selfish devices, we actually inhabit and move with our feelings and dreams of self- fulfillment, in idle, egotistical daydreams– never meant by God to be any kind of virtual reality. True reality exists on an objective plane, and true reality becomes perverted only when the individual, autonomous ego takes over and raises itself to self-aggrandizement and unbelief by denying the existence of a Supreme Being and an objective truth.

We have to remember: true, agape love always has an object and an objective: to love and care and assist our fellow human beings. And agape love for God enjoins worshipful adoration and active obedience as a cornerstone to a real, lively faith.

Self-love (and I am referring to total absorption, here, not a reasonable regard for our own needs and Christian attributes, in proper perspective) is the antithesis of loving God first and foremost. When our feelings and desires become our sole focus, we always supplant the needs of others and do not honor God as supreme Lord. We cannot serve two masters.

And this goes back to what we, as human beings, were created for. We are finite beings (death pretty much takes away any objections to the contrary) and we were designed to worship an infinite being of great worth, truth, majesty and holiness. Any other worship, especially of self, is idolatry. We need to get this through our thick heads—God/Jesus Christ is the epicenter of *HIS* Universe, and we ain’t. But, oh, how this offends so many people’s egos and sensibilities.

Having said all that, here is one of my favorite verses in the Bible: “Not to US, O LORD, not to US, But to YOUR NAME give glory. Because of Your loving kindness, because of Your truth (Psa 115:1).”

Mary Elizabeth Palshan