Hate your neighbor as yourself?

Self-hatred is not an option for the Christian. God says we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, which completely rules out hating yourself: you have to love your neighbor, so in the first place you must love yourself. In the end, if you hate yourself you will wind up being hateful towards your neighbors, friends, and family too.

This idea took me aback the first time I came across it because I am really good at despising myself. I have been practicing for decades, and I have it down pat. But I am not granted the privilege of doing so.

Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. CCC §2264]

It is natural to everything to keep itself in “being,” as far as possible. … one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s. [Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II q.64 a.7]

“Think first of thyself,” says St. Bernard, “and then of others.” (de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, III.24)

If you give others a break, give yourself one too. I have to tell myself that regularly. I can’t love others if I am sick or dead from self-neglect. Note that this is not an excuse for selfishness or narcissism: the common good is something we must also seek. But we need not do so without any thought for ourselves.

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Posted in Aquinas - Philosophy, Catechism, Charity, Veritatis Splendor
One comment on “Hate your neighbor as yourself?
  1. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Reblogged this on James’ Ramblings.

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