It appears that it is not at all true that God wants us to self-sacrifice to the point of suffering and/or doing harm to ourselves in order to be a good and faithful servant to others.  Those who have come to that belief appear not to have done it based upon what is written, nor upon adequate reflection and questioning and thinking and deciding what is right and good, truly. To the contrary, God would want us to prosper and do well in life.

(If you have evidence otherwise, please do provide it.)


What would a wise and just God who loves each one of his "children" want us to do for ourselves, besides doing for others?  Wouldn't he want us to receive the blessings of life and to take care of our bodies ("the temples of our souls) and our "selves"?

Would he want us to suffer that others might not suffer?  (Or was that something "man" inserted in the writings in an effort to exert more control over the people so that they would have a better working society where all were safer and better off?)

Why would God want to have any of his creatures suffer?  Does he not love each one of them? 

What does He say?


As far as I can tell, the idea of being self-sacrificing to an extreme in order to be servants of others is something that people made up.  Perhaps it was out of guilt or perhaps out of trying to be "worthy", but it appears to be a false construct that was made up but not actually so.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  (Philippians 2:3-4)

Man should look to his own interests.  AND he should be humble and give significance to others and act in their self interest, but no self-sacrifice or suffering is asked for.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13)

Well, that certainly makes sense.  But it appears to be an observation of fact, not a request or a demand.  

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)

It seems to me that we are dedicating our earthly bodies to be used to follow what is holy and good (but there is no implication that we should die to do that).  A little unclear, but it does not seem to say to kill oneself.

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  (John 12:25 )

Doesn't this say that if you make yourself miserable, through self-sacrifice and/or suffering, that you will be stuck in that for all time?  I can't clearly say what the first part of the sentence says...   "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it,"  Matthew 10:39.  Surely, 'tis good to "lose oneself" without self concern and to freely give without fear, but to be stuck in concern and suffering of self may be pure hell.


Yes, He did ask Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, but He pulled out (via a messenger) before it happened.  All of this was to test Abraham's faith, for some reason.


I cannot find any evidence that God wanted a man to go so far in benefiting others that he must himself suffer.

If you even have quotes from sources saying what God says, please do email me so I can add those to this conversation.

I couldn't even find in the Book Of Mormon any requests for self-sacrifice to the point of suffering.

Space for evidence otherwise is provided below, after the following section.


"Love your neighbor as yourself."  That surely clearly implies that you "love yourself" and that it is just fine.  Just give love (acceptance, kindness, help) to your neighbor, too.
Treat other people as well as we treat ourselves...  Yes, it was addressed that one should not love himself too much, which meant you should not do it to the extent where it gets in the way of loving others. 

Even the Buddha tried that, and then he decided that the best way was "the middle way", which essentially is a harmoniously balanced way of living, not too much of this, not too much of that, but a sought after best combination of them, that we might live and enjoy better lives.


Is God Compassionate?

Selfishness - Sensitive Issue, Misdefinition, Misconceptions - Link also to the piece on altruism.

Are others more worthy of kind treatment and being valued than we are:  "I Am Not Good Enough..."

Solving The Problems Caused By Guilt - Never Leaving It Unquestioned And/Or Unresolved 

The Great Abuse Of The Body And Its Systems - Reconsider!  The Importance Of Maintaining Homeostasis - Those who over sacrifice for various causes are abusing themselves, going for more money, approval, trying to prove themselves good enough or worthy enough.  But certainly they are not being wise, and it certainly wouldn't seem to be pleasing to God to see that, though it might be to the "other guy".

The Sources Of Suffering - Are we humans causing undue suffering to ourselves, out of some very false beliefs? 

"Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love" (Alma 38:12, Book Of Mormon)

"There is an eternal principle that we are happier and more fulfilled when we act and serve for what we give, not for what we get."

Indeed, that is true, but it does not say don't take care of yourself, for if you do not take good care of yourself it is hard, if not impossible, to take good care for others.

Indeed, it is confusing to seek to "be good" and to "do good" and to not be "too" selfish.  But, alas, where does one draw the line? 

Surely, with thought and love for ourselves, we can choose a balance that is both best for ourselves and which still does good for other men.  It is unwise, indeed, to short ourselves of self care and self good - if all men did that, it would be an unhappy world.

You are not "selfish" if you take care of yourself and honor yourself and give yourself full and complete love.  For then, and only then, can you give up the concern and the anxiety and the emptiness you feel in your life.  When you no longer have those getting in the way, your full power and much time and effort are released so that you can further enjoy life by giving to others - not out of obligation, duty, guilt, shame, or trying to be worthy, but out of pure joy beyond self.

At this point in my life, had I not taken care of myself, resolved all my issues, and learned how to master my life, there is no way I could have devoted so much time and caring to my mission to serve others. I would have frittered my time away, with some positive efforts but with alot of escape and seeking relief from anxiety and from self concern. 

I am thankful, very, very, very thankful, that I chose the way of true life mastery. 

Though I am not religious, I now seek to serve mankind as well as I can - while I am at the same time fully loving myself and caring for myself, ever grateful and joyous and "filled up."

Loving oneself does not imply being unduly "selfish" nor vain, for that is beyond what is wise.

Although it is good to value others, it does not mean not to value ourselves.  Some people call valuing ourselves as being selfish, as if the word meant that a person was totally one way with no balance - but that is profoundly false and a bastardization of what the true message is.

"None of this should be taken to mean that we should see ourselves as 'worthless.' The Bible teaches that we are created in the image of God, and that fact alone gives us great worth (see Luke 12:7)."  Indeed, to think we are worthless, or even "not good enough" is an abuse of the honoring we should give unto ourselves.

"Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good."  (Proverbs 19:8)

"Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."  (Romans 13:8-10) - It would seem that doing no wrong to ourselves would also be love.  Self-sacrifice to the point of suffering is "doing wrong to oneself."

A good, reasoned viewpoint is in this outside article:  Love God, Love Others, Love Yourself - A Biblically Balanced Life.  (It is extremes that cause problems, but it is balance that causes harmony and workability.)

The gospels assume that we have love for ourselves and that it is natural.  And then that we have love for our neighbors as we do for ourselves.

Some people have mistakenly taken upon themselves a "self-imposed asceticism", as if they are not to love themselves.  But there is no rational or religious justification for  that.

This seems to make sense, to adopt a "viewpoint" or a "viewing point":

"There are times when no matter how hard we try, we feel unable to love ourselves. In such times, we feel its so much easier to love other people. After all, they’re not with us 24 hours in a day We don’t see all their weaknesses. We don’t have to live with their regrets. And we’re not the ones who have to carry their hurts.

In such times, we feel overwhelmed. We don’t have enough strength to accept this person we see in the mirror everyday.

We don’t have enough love to love her. We don’t have enough strength to uplift her when she couldn’t believe in herself anymore.

During such times, I’ve known of a way to help you continue improving your relationship with yourself. And that way is to see yourself through God’s own eyes.

In God’s eyes, there is no judgment, there is only acceptance. In God’s eyes, there is no pain too hard to bear nor weaknesses too weak to be overcome by His insurmountable strength.

God can embrace us wholeheartedly, opening us up yet sustaining us and healing us at the same time. God sees all our potentials. God sees our light when all that we can see are our shadows.

God sees this person who falls but who has the power to get up again and again. God sees this person who gets hurt but does not become hard or bitter, only softer, more resilient to change.

God sees you. God cherishes you. God’s eyes love you more than anyone could ever love you as you really are."  

See yourself through loving, kind eyes.  Cherish yourself for the miracle you are, for the incredible gifts and abilities you have, beyond that of any creature on earth.  Love yourself with the intensity with which you love a child - and do it as part of what strengthens you so that you can go out into the world and powerfully contribute to and love others - having thoroughly, completely loved yourself and filled your tank, as of equal value to anyone in this world and surely of the greatest value to oneself.
"A selfless person is one who is more concerned about the happiness and well-being of another than about his or her own convenience or comfort..."  He has no concern for himself, because he has totally taken care of himself and balanced himself, so that he is trong and not needy.

Continuing: "one who is willing to serve another when it is neither sought for nor appreciated, or one who is willing to serve even those whom he or she dislikes. A selfless person displays a willingness to sacrifice, a willingness to purge from his or her mind and heart personal wants, and needs, and feelings. "  And a human cannot, indeed do that, with having a base set of needs met and a strenght in his personal foundation.

"Instead of reaching for and requiring praise and recognition for himself, or gratification of his or her own wants, the selfless person will meet these very human needs for others. Remember the words of the Savior as he taught his disciples on an occasion when personal recognition was being sought..."  When you are complete with yourself and do not need praise and approval from others, then you can truly be selfless - and powerful.

Before that, you will sacrifice great value that you could have provided to others, as you focus on small things, on being perfect, on not making mistakes, on recognition by others...if you are  caught up into those, you will play small and, indeed, you will end up shorting the world of the value that you could have given to it. 

Continuing to quote the same person, we can get an insight into why people tend to make everything black and white and not allowing for true and powerful balance, for the highest functioning.  They interpret self care and taking care of one's own needs as meaning the extreme - and are totally missing the point:

"The dictionary describes a selfish person as one who is “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking pleasure or well-being without regard for others.” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.) May we add, a selfish person is often one who refers to “I,” “me,” and “mine” rather than to “we,” “ours,” “yours,” or “theirs.” This person is anxious to be in the limelight, to be on center stage in life’s little dramas. He or she may be a poor listener, or a conversation monopolizer. Selfishness is the great unknown sin. No selfish person ever thought himself to be selfish."
(From Selflessness: A Pattern For Happiness.)

One can see how the reader (or listener) might exaggerate any caring of self into the extreme, for if one is to err it "must be to the side of safety", away from the "sin" that would prove him unworthy and deservedly labeled as "not a good person".  But that is all a misconception, a belief "too far", to one's own detriment. 

Believing that one's self is not deserving of being fully loved and taken care of completely, as a super-priority is a delusion, one due to exaggeration and to the fear that accompanies and, indeed, is the cause of the exaggeration, in order to be "on the safe side."  

I am greatly saddened when I see those with whom I am especially close "sacrificing" their very own lives and the potential richness that can be theirs out of some extreme belief that hurts them, while they are truly trying to do the best they can for the world.  Shortchanging oneself and living less of a life than is possible is, indeed, a sad thing to see, for me.

As children, we exaggerate and set up "heroic" figures (sometimes even our own parents) that are powerful, strong, brave, without fault - beyond what is true for human beings. 

And that is all well and fine, as a child.

But it is harmful to hold onto those ideas as we "grow up", for then we set unrealistic perspectives and expectations for how life should be.  Life will, in that case, undoubtedly disappoint us, for it is impossible to live up to such standards - indeed it is the source of much unhappiness - we cannot be happy if we maintain this Unhappiness Gap.

And with those unrealistic expectations, we can find ourselves being "unworthy" unless we attain great heights of "goodness", so we can gain approval and help offset our obsession with being unworthy or "not good" enough or "looking good".  We embody this by setting up ideals of selflessness and take it to the extreme, exhausting ourselves, giving ourselves away in suffering self-sacrifice. 

And 'tis not wise nor beneficial to ourselves nor the world.

This is not written to criticize those who have not yet learned otherwise, for they could have done no differently given their paths in life.  But I write this in hopes of reaching at least one, or hopefully a number of, person in time to have them stop, look, listen and to have them decide to examine what might serve themselves better - and that they will learn to be true masters of life - and to, out of their passion to do good for others, help others toward becoming masters of life - who are happy and effective in life and who inspire others toward creating greater value for themselves and the world.