Opinion | Sexuality

Should Christians Use Self-Help Programs?

Many programs teach self-love and self-compassion as a path to inner peace. What is the gospel response?

We were staying with friends, and I was getting ready for the day in their daughter's bathroom. It was a typical tween-age space: cute stickers and sayings posted to the mirror, hair products and cotton balls and drugstore makeup on the shelf. A quote on the mirror caught my eye: "I'm Third." It came from Kanakuk, a Christian sports camp in Missouri. In smaller print, I found an explanation: "God first. Others second. I'm third."

Something about the quote struck me as off. I knew it came from the Bible. When the teachers of the law ask Jesus, "What is the greatest commandment?" he responds, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself' " (Matt. 22:37-38). I assume the Kanakuk saying intends to echo Jesus, yet the Bible states the command in a less hierarchical manner. Love of God remains at the top of the list, but love of neighbor and self ...

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