"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:57-58
False Doctrine: Learn to Love Yourself
Christopher J. E. Johnson
Published: June 2, 2015
Updated: June 27, 2015

In this article, we will not only cover the new-age "love yourself" message, but we will address the fact that most people claiming to be Christians who do not have any good understanding of what the Bible says about love. Generally, most Christians and non-Christians alike think that "love" automatically means things that will make you feel good and happy, and that's completely unbiblical.

First, let's look at what new-age churchianity is teaching:
"[People] who don't love themselves in a healthy way will find it impossible to develop genuine love relationships with others. Two of the most important concepts I learned from my psychiatric training, both of which are totally with scripture, are: (1) you cannot truly love others until you learn to love yourself in a healthy way; (2) lack of self-worth is the basis of most psychological problems."
-Paul D. Meier (Psychiatrist) & Donald E. Ratcliff, Christian Child-rearing and Personality Development, Baker Publishing Group, 1993, ISBN: 9780801056116

This message of needing to "learn to love yourself" is so common today, most Americans are familiar with the teaching. The teaching generally says that if you don't love yourself first, you can't love anyone else.

To give the reader some more examples, I went on to youtube to find this false message being taught, and it was rather easy since they're a dime a dozen. I don't know who this preacher is; I've never seen him before, but here was his message...

(A preacher teaching the "love yourself" message.)
@0:53 - "[God] also says that you're to love your neighbor as yourself, correct? Okay, when I asked you, how many of you love yourself exactly the way that you are, nobody raised your hand. So how do you love God properly when you can't love yourself properly? How do you love your neighbor properly when you can't love yourself properly?"

Another worldly author writes:
"'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Many women today are realizing that they have kept the first part of this commandment too well and the second part too poorly."
-Virginia Ann Froehle, Loving Yourself More: 101 Meditations for Women, Ave Maria Press, 1993, p. 128, ISBN: 9780877935131

Here's another example from the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing Joyce Meyer:

(Joyce Meyer preaching the "love yourself" message.)
JOYCE MEYER: "I felt it was a major breakthrough when I simply discovered that most people really don't like themselves. Some of them know it, while others don't even have a clue that it's the root of many of the other problems in their life. Self-rejection, and even self-hatred, are the root causes of many relationship problems... If you don't like yourself, you're in for one miserably wretched life... "
"You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself. Guess what? If you don't love yourself, then you're not going to be able to love anybody else... I believe that when somebody doesn't like themselves, it's equivalent to being emotionally ill."

If you were to listen to her whole teaching on this subject, Meyer also goes on to tell the audience never to let anyone tell you that you're being too emotional because, she claimed, emotions come from the soul, and since Christ has cleansed the soul, therefore, whatever you feel is righteous. This is a lie from the pit of hell, and gives church-goers the deceptive teaching that whatever they feel is from the Holy Spirit, which is how these new-age cults get so popular because they don't care what the Word of God says; everyone ends up believing whatever they feel like doing is from God.

This message deceives new Christians, and I had even bought into the idea early in my days as a Christian because I didn't know any better. Meyer is very skilled at deceiving people because she helps them focus on, build up, and love their earthly lives.

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
-John 12:25

Now let's read what God's Word has to say about this "love yourself" message:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
-2 Timothy 3:1-5

Did that say that men will become HATERS of their own selves, and need unbiblical female pastors to come help them learn how to love themselves more? Those who become lovers of their own selves have wicked hearts that rebel against the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are instructed to sanctify ourselves away from the people I just quoted because they are teaching false doctrine.

Joyce Meyer teaches that men who have negative feelings about themselves are emotionally ill -- like Paul for example:

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
-Romans 7:24

She has no repentance in her heart, so of course Meyer has no concept of being brought low in humility:

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
-Psalm 8:3-4

For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
-Isaiah 2:12

Meyer sits back with her mega-millions of wealth, thinking she's in need of nothing, thinking her gain is godliness:

Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
-1 Timothy 6:5

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
-Revelation 3:17

In her teaching, Meyer said that self-hatred was the root cause of relationship problems, and that people just need to love themselves more, but this one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard. For example, some of you ladies have probably listened to a friend as she talked about some serious marriage problems, perhaps she's even been beaten and abused, and when she talks about the root cause of the problem in their marriage, does she say, "I think it's just because he doesn't love himself enough." That's absolutely preposterous, and as Joyce Meyer had talked about been raped by her father over 200 times, I guarantee you the last thing she ever thought was that her dad needed to love himself more.

This false message is claimed to be based on Christ's doctrine:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
-Matthew 22:36-40

These false teachers then say that until you love yourself, you can't love your neighbor or God, which is a contradiction to 2Ti 3. Nowhere in this verse did it tell us we need to learn how to love ourselves because we already love ourselves automatically, and that we should treat our neighbor as we would already treat ourselves.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
-Ephesians 5:29

When discussing this subject with others, they tend to bring up suicidal people as an argument against Scripture here, but as someone who has personally gone through suicidal thoughts as a teenager, it took me many years after being born-again to understand that even when I planned to kill myself, I still loved myself, and that even suicidal people love themselves. Most people still won't understand this, but consider the following:
  • Does he/she eat food?
  • Does he/she put on clothes?
  • Does he/she bathe?
  • Does he/she drink water when thirsty?
  • Does he/she wear warm clothes when it's cold?
  • Does he/she seek shelter from heat?
Every single one of these actions means these suicidal people love themselves, even when they claim to hate themselves. The only moment in their lives when they will stop loving themselves is the moment they commit suicide.

The day you die will be the day you stop loving yourself.

You already love yourself, so you will love yourself until the moment you die, and Christ was teaching us to love one another the same way. We are supposed to do for one another what we already do for ourselves, and if we love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and mind, then we will keep his commandments.

If ye love me, keep my commandments.
-John 14:15

I have been accused many times of being "unloving" in emails after I write an article of rebuke against sin, but these self-proclaimed Christians are typically more focused on justifying their sin by pointing fingers at me instead of examining themselves.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
-2 Corinthians 13:5

The real problem is that when I showed the Scripture against whatever wicked action they are involved in, they love their lust more than the Lord Jesus Christ. They were pricked in their heart that they were doing wrong, felt bad about themselves, and then instead of repenting of the sin, they accuse me of being "unloving" because they feel bad.

As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
-Psalm 73:20-22

The truth is that these people hate correction and instruction from God's Word, and it's easier to accuse me than to acknowledge that truth:

Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
-Proverbs 15:10

But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.
-Psalm 50:16

They quickly forget the first and great commandment, that we are to love the Lord God, our Lord Jesus Christ, with all our heart, soul, and mind, and He already told us how to love Him--by keeping His commandments. Not only is it loving the Lord God, but keeping those commandments also loves our neighbor.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
-1 John 5:3

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
-Romans 13:10

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
-2 John 1:6

If we love God and love our neighbor, the first thing we can do is clean out the sin and leaven from our lives, but again, there are many false converts to enter the church who, on the one hand, love the idea of going to heaven, but on the other hand, want to live like the devil. This is called a hypocrite, one who lives with double heart (i.e. they don't live the way they say they believe).

They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
-Psalm 12:2

An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
-Proverbs 11:9

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
-Matthew 23:25

Though many self-proclaimed Christians believe they are loving, most don't understand the first thing about love in the Bible because they are guided by their feelings (their hearts) first and foremost, instead of by the Word of God.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
-Jeremiah 17:9

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
-Proverbs 28:26

A major misunderstanding of the world is that they believe love is a feeling, and if that happy-go-lucky feeling enters their hearts, then it's automatically from God. This is how many are deceived by new-age church buildings and preachers to think that the Holy Spirit is equivalent to their feelings when they tell others "I felt the spirit say this." Their feelings, what's in their hearts, becomes the deciding factor of their word and actions, and if the Word of God contradicts their words and actions, then they will follow those feelings first and foremost as their final authority.

The major false belief of modern-day church
buildings is that love is equivalent to emotion.

Doing what is loving is doing what is right over what's convenient; putting aside desires to do that which is good. Sometimes, good can line up with our desire, and that will happen more often as Christ's doctrine becomes the central focus of our lives, but we ought to never start assuming that how we feel is what is right according to the Word of God, else we make our feelings (our hearts; our selves) our "god."

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
-Genesis 6:5

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
-Luke 17:26

I'm going to give an example that will be hard for many Christians to hear, but it's imperative that we understand this concept. All goodness and love is defined by the Word of God, but mankind has a different way they want to view what's good and loving.

For example, a Catholic church, which follows a pagan god and goddess they call "jesus" and "mary," puts up a hospital in a war-torn area, and helps the injured. This is what the world considers "good," and I too want to consider that good, however, when they offer the medical services, they also work to convert the patients to pagan idolatry through their Catholic doctrines, which leads them to hell, so that means that everything they're doing is actually evil.

I know I'll have self-proclaimed Christians start hurling railing accusations at me for such things, but I take the Word of God seriously when my Lord Jesus Christ said:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves... Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
-Matthew 7:15-18

A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, no matter how much we may want to believe otherwise, but people still believe that wicked people are doing "good" because the worldly definitions of "love" are based on their personal emotions. And sadly, many Christians are given into this worldly concept they call "love," keeping their focus on their lustful hearts and how they feel at this present moment, rather than the invisible things to come, namely, the lake of fire.

The typical movie today will show some sexually motivated scene, and one of the people will passionately say, "I love you." What they actually mean is that they LUST after them, but the love word sounds a lot better, so they say 'love' instead of 'lust'. Other people use the phrase as to say that someone is cherished or important to them, so why not say that directly? (e.g. "I cherish you" or "You are important to me")

As a child growing into an adult, I cannot recall hearing the words "I love you" from my parents, but also understand that it NEVER bothered me. Why not? I never questioned that they did. Not everything was good growing up, and there was some wrong done by my parents, but there were specific actions they took that communicated to me properly their true love for me.

For example, when my parents promised us something, they did it, and I can never remember receiving a false promise; they always kept their word. Sometimes, they went far out of their way to make sure they kept their word, and at the time, they didn't even realize that keeping their word was keeping the commandments of God, and thereby, without knowing Biblical definitions of love, I still knew they loved me. They had no reason to say it because it was obvious; they proved it by their actions.
(Read "God Does Not Justify Lies" here at creationliberty.com for more details; the Lord God commands Christians to keep their word, and be careful what they speak.)

I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
-2 Corinthians 8:8

A young lady named Karen gives her testimony about what her mother does to her:
"I am so tired of the empty promises my parents always give me. My mom and I would plan all week to go out on the weekend. Then when Friday makes it's way around, she goes out with her friends! She comes home and says 'I'm tired honey, you understand. Maybe next time'... I hate having my time wasted! It's like my time does not matter to her. If I say something about it, She turns the tables on me! I'm coming to the point where when someone makes me a promise I don't even get my hopes up. When you hope you only get shot down. There's no point in it."
-karen1752000, "I Hate My Parents," experienceproject.com, retrieved Jun 2, 2015, [experienceproject.com/stories/Hate-My-Parents/1546588]

We could talk for a long time about the damage being done to the daughter who was lied to, but to keep on topic, the fact of the matter is that the mother does not love her daughter. I don't care how much she will CLAIM she loves her daughter with her words, she is proving she doesn't love her daughter, and her daughter is very unlikely to believe her mother when she says "I love you."

Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
-Psalm 31:18

Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
-Ecclesiastes 5:5

He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
-Proverbs 10:18

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
-Matthew 12:36

Thus, most people end up saying "I love you" when it's not true. The words become a selfish and deceptive tool used to try and calm a situation or appease a sour disposition, but the evidence still remains.

Let's also take a moment to analyze "love" from an atheistic/evolutionary worldview; what is love if evolution is true? Love is abstract (not concrete), and since atheism/evolutionism only considers that which is material to exist, then love is simply a combination of chemical processes happening in the brain that produce a given result of desire or want for a given person, place, or thing. That means in the evolutionary worldview, love is just a chemical reaction, and that saying "I love you" to someone else is no different than passing gas; it's just a combination of chemicals that has a physical cause and effect reaction.

The Bible never uses the phrase "I love you" in the context in which we use it today. There are only two times those three words appear in that order in the Bible:

Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.
-2 Corinthians 11:11

Paul is explaining that, though he was boasting of other regions where he had spread the Gospel, it did not mean that he did not love the congregations of Corinth. He tells them here that they may not feel a certain way towards him, but God knows the truth (i.e. their feelings are irrelevant when it comes to the facts).

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
-2 Corinthians 12:15

Paul is explaining that the more he is spent for them, the more he is loving them, but the less he is loved of them, due to their wickedness that he mentions later. (2Cor 12:20) They were not loving Paul (keeping the commandments of God), like Paul was loving them (keeping the commandments of God), and the more he loves others, the less he is loved, which shows us that the true Biblical teaching shows us to love ourselves last.

There are some church-goers who will argue what I'm teaching here, saying: "The Bible tells us love is patient and kind." That's not what 1 Corinthians 13 tells us:

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:
-1 Corinthians 13:3-8

Well then where does that phrase "love is patient" come from that you have stitched into your throw pillows? That comes from the wicked NIV, which says, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud," and not just the NIV, but also every other new-age version I found said the same thing.

According to the Bible, without the Lord God, it is impossible to love.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
-1 John 4:7

Remember also that the Bible says that God IS love. Just as the Word of God is God, love is also God, and that means His Word and His Commandments are also love.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
-John 1:1

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
-1 John 4:8

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
-1 John 4:16

Without the Word of God, love does not exist. Even if someone wanted to say that love existed outside of God, it would be impossible to prove it.

In order for anyone to argue the existance of love in an atheist universe, it would require appealing to emotion, which is logical fallacy, because emotions range all over the scale, and no absolute standards can be built from such an argument. In the same way, one person may say that love is hitting someone (like in Islam when men beat their wives), and someone else says that love is not hitting someone (like 1Ti 3:3), then it leads us to ask who's right and who's wrong? In evolutionary terms, it all comes down to someone's personal opinion based on their own feelings, and the subject is left in hopeless circular reasoning.

Just as morals (right/wrong, good/evil) cannot be proven to exist without the Christian God of the Bible, love also cannot be proven to exist without the Christian God of the Bible.
(Read "Atheists Can't Justify Morals" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

I hope that Christians who read this teaching will walk away with a better understanding of God's definition of love, that to love God is to keep His commandments, and that if you truly love your Christian brethren, you will rebuke them when they do wickedness.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
-2 Timothy 3:16

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
-Titus 2:11-15

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
-2 Timothy 4:2

The Lord Jesus Christ rebukes those He loves:

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
-Revelation 3:19

American Christians often cower aware from rebuking people because they're afraid for anyone to be upset with them, or that friends and family may never speak to them again, so instead they hold their peace and keep it secret.

Open rebuke is better than secret love.
-Proverbs 27:5

Do we love our friends and family more than the Lord Jesus Christ?

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
-Matthew 10:37

You can rebuke and reprove in a charitable manner, but no matter how kind you try to be, often the rebuked person will hate you and continue on in his/her error.

He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
-Proverbs 10:17

Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
-Proverbs 12:1

Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
-Proverbs 15:10

Since the truth of the Word of God leads us to eternal life, then there is nothing in this world more loving than the truth. If you are a Christian and claim to love another, but are not willing to reprove and rebuke them in the truth of God's Word, then you are not only a hypocrite (you don't live the way you claim to believe), you also have no love for that person. If you would allow your Christian brethren to live a cursed life by not rebuking them to get right with the Word, then the evidence shows that you hate them.

Bottom line: If you truly claim to love your Christian brethren, rebuke them if they err from the Word of God, praying that the Lord God would keep our own eyes open to His truth, and that he would give them repentance to acknowledge that truth.

It is my prayer that all born-again Christians would choose to love their neighbors enough to tell them the truth, and not to be strangled by emotions. Let's love our brethren the Biblical way by living our lives in truth and righteousness of God's commandments, and preaching the same to all men.

CLE Only

Google+ Facebook Tumblr
Twitter Youtube Youtube

Android via Amazon
Google Play