What Self-Love Looks Like – by David Brauner


I came across Scripture the other day, written over 3,000 years ago, that casts a fresh perspective on current self-help. This ancient advice is from Proverbs, 15:32. “Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” Most of us realize it’s healthy to embrace criticism. That’s what emotionally intelligent people do. This Scripture goes further, however, suggesting that ignoring criticism is more than a neutral act, it’s more than doing nothing. It’s actually doing self-harm, whether we realize it or not. And so, it follows, that striving to improve, listening to constructive feedback, is the opposite- a show of self-love. When I look up the word despise, Google returns: “feel contempt or a deep repugnance for.”  And this is the example sentence from the search engine: “he despised himself for being selfish.” So according to Google then, the truth of this Scripture is no less relevant today than it was 3,000 ago. I often say that the Bible is the best self-help book ever written, and more to the point, it’s the source of every other self-help book written since. If you want proof, try this: meditate on an issue or problem you’re grappling with, that’s heavy on your heart or mind, and open a Bible randomly to Proverbs and begin to read. See what resonates. If nothing at first, flip a few pages and try again. There are countless free Bibles on the Internet if you don’t have one. I’m sure you will find something that informs your thinking constructively. It might be just what you need to hear. 
 
This morning, I came across Scripture that resonates with me in the way I’m describing. This is from Philippians 4: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” 

Here, Paul is making a case for the power of positive thinking, and for the ultimate source of that power- a relationship with the King. I think Paul is saying that these fruits of the mind are a product of the peace that comes from keeping our thoughts “stayed” on the Almighty. And from resting in the blessed assurance that God is with us through our burdens. That no matter the problems we face, earthly troubles are temporal, and therefore temporary. That doesn’t diminish the weight of how we suffer and agonize in the grip of tragedy. But if you’ve ever been around believers, who have a deep, abiding faith, you have witnessed a kind of lightness of being, even in the midst of the worst life can conjure, including sickness and death. They seem to hover above it, at least from what I have witnessed worshipping alongside them in church. I’m sure they are not without their private moments of desperation and doubt, but their consistent buoyancy at church, in the midst of their own troubles, is saying something too, that a community of faith supports itself and one another, just by showing up. Open Proverbs and start reading!  The song pairing is another demo- “Walking with the King.” See how many song and literary references you recognize. Until next time, stay safe, be brave and keep walking in the light.

Walking with the King
I have felt the slings and arrows
I’ve been so lonesome I could cry
I been lost in the darkness
down in the darkness
and I didn’t know why

Yeah, but here’s the thing
I’m walking with the king
I’m walking, walking
with the king
I’m walking, walking
with the king
I’m walking, walking with the king
I’m walking, walking with the king

Now I got the blessed assurance
got me a mighty, mighty fortress too
hey now here I am Lord
you’re with me, and I’m with you

Yeah, but here’s the thing
I’m walking with the king
I’m walking, walking
with the king
I’m walking, walking
with the king
I’m walking, walking with the king
I’m walking, walking with the king

Yeah folks make me lonesome
when they go
I’ve felt alone and felt blue
now I feel like a fortunate son
part of the family with the holy one

Yeah, here’s the thing
I’m walking with the king
I’m walking, walking
with the king
I’m walking, walking
with the king
I’m walking, walking with the king
I’m walking, walking with the king


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