No matter how altrustic we may not want to sound, no matter how much we might want to avoid sounding like a pop-psychologist, and no matter how much we might think it is selfish, Jesus in two very important statements grounds our love for others in self-love.
The Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12, teaches us that we are to do to others as we would do to ourselves — clearly taking his cue from (a proper) self-love.
And the Jesus Creed, quoting Leviticus 19:18, says we are to love our neighbors as ourselves — again taking his clue from (a proper) self-love. (I’m dipping here into the next chp of 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed.)
It is those two words I stuck into the parentheses that many of us want to hear, as if getting that right would clear the rubble. It’s still a problem: self-love, proper to be sure, can be the foundation of how to treat others. This is pragmatic; it works. And it’s true.
Pentecost can only be what it is designed to be — the empowering by God’s Spirit to be the community God designs for God’s People — when individuals in that community love themselves and use that as a standard for loving others. Though unexpressed, this self-love grounded ethic was at work in Acts 2:42-47.
Here’s a challenge for today: do something for someone else for no other reason than that you’d like someone to do the same for you.