This post is part of larger blog series, “Tenets of Progressive Culture.” Read the intro post to learn who this blog series is for and what to expect. Previous post in this series – Self-Love: Defined and Self-Love: True and False.
I see where the self-love movement originated. This movement is highly targeted towards women, especially wives and moms. These groups generally feel under-appreciated and overtired. The self-love movement says, “Wife, Mom, you deserve to take some time just for yourself. You deserve to prioritize your own needs over the husband and children you care for.”
Like we talked about in the previous post, this movement conflates self-care with self-prioritization. A wife and mom absolutely should take the time to care for the temple God gave her. That self-care is vital for her to care for her family.
However, the merging of self-care into self-prioritization is when things get murky. Being a wife and mom does require consistent and daily self-sacrifice. So, if a wife/mom consistently prioritizes her own needs in the name of self-care, she operates outside biblical boundaries. Jesus set the ultimate example of self-sacrifice. Being a wife and mom are opportunities to emulate Christ in the practice of self-sacrifice. Now, of course, this is not just a message for wives and moms. This concept is most certainly applicable to husbands, fathers, and all Christ-loving men and women. This sounds much harder to do than culture’s self-love movement. And it certainly is because it is contrary to our sinful nature.
The enticing nature of the self-love movement is that it promises immediate gratification now. It appeals to our sinful nature in that it prioritizes our own happiness over others. However, consider the short-term and long term consequences. In the short-term, relationships will suffer. A healthy marriage, healthy parenting, and healthy friendships require self-sacrifice. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a self-love obsessed husband, wife, dad, mom, co-worker, or friend.
Most importantly, in the long term, self-love does not lead to salvation. Christianity does not promise such things as immediate gratification and happiness. Instead, Christianity promises eternal life to all who believe in Christ Jesus. As Christ-followers walking in our daily lives, we are called to practice self-sacrifice. To be clear, self-sacrifice by itself does not lead to salvation; faith in Christ does. Instead, Christ’s love in our hearts compels us to take up our cross and to suffer as He did. This breeds a culture of others-focused selflessness versus a culture of narcissism and selfishness.
So, evangelical Christian, is the self-love movement worth it in the long term?