One of the biggest deceptions in our society is that self-love is a thing, much less THE thing.
With the rapid rise in wealth since the Second World War, large periods of peace in many places (always excluding the Middle East) and technological advances that have revolutionised society, the old ideas of responsibilities, commitment and so on have crumbled. There is a consensus that my life is to be the best life, as measured by my desires.
The widespread availability of motor vehicles since the War meant that the general mobility of people has exploded beyond what our grandparents might have imagined. Where previous generations often were born, married, raised children and died in the one community, now people move house regularly. Fly In Fly Out and Drive In Drive Out workers are the new norm, meaning that families no longer need to be near the bread-winner’s work place.
The communications revolution of recent years means that you can communicate with anyone any time right around the world. Not only that, people can portray any personality they choose online as they hide behind their screens.
The sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s brought reliable contraception and the divorce of sexuality from pregnancy and thence from marriage.
All of these changes in half a century, plus many others that could be mentioned, have brought people in the Western cultures to an understanding that their self-actualisation, their own pleasure and personal satisfaction, are the most important things about life.
Society, inasmuch it has any role in anybody’s life, is there to facilitate my happiness.
If I want to use illicit drugs or go on a drinking binge then that’s fine as long as nobody gets hurt. Somebody will be there to overcome the health effects or the psychiatric issues later.
If I want to engage in high risk sexual activity then somebody will pick up the tab later for my anti-HIV medication.
If I want to walk out on my relationships then somebody will be there to pay for the care of my children.
The rhetoric of the same sex marriage campaign echoes this. If two people are happy then why get in the way of love?
If some white guy wants to live as a black woman then who are we to judge?
Collectively we have become confused about who we are and why we are here. Self-love is not the highest love, nor is the right to happiness a real right. Marriage is not about romantic love for that matter.
Christians are told we love because Christ first loved us. Because of that love we are to live lives of joyful service of God and the world, laying down our lives, dying to what we want to become what God wants us to be.
Our culture has got this so wrong. Self-love does not lead to better people- it just makes self-centred people.
When a whole nation of self-centred people all jostle for their “rights” then the nation is divided and chaos ensues.
We are in a mess now of our own making. Don’t blame the politicians, the judges, the media, the corporations. We’ve bought into the lie that it’s all about me. And the chaos- that’s ll about me too.