Ephesians 5:29 "After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church--"
Ever since I first read this verse I had questions about it. I mean I know people who seem to hate their own bodies. They don't feed and care for it, in fact some of them starve, poison, and abuse their bodies. Now for some who are addicts or self medicating, it isn't their bodies they are hating when they are poisoning it, it is in fact out of a love for their bodies, and a desire to escape some kind of pain that they are futilely engaging in this destructive activity. And then there are some people who abuse their bodies out of ignorance, or out of a desire for pleasure, which doesn't fit into the category of hatred.
However there seems to be many others who actually hate their bodies. I got to thinking this morning about this. To me it is common to think of a person hating their own body. I wonder if this is a cultural concept that the Apostle Paul's culture may not have been familiar with, but that my culture is very familiar with. I read articles all the time about how people in our culture are subjected to an unrealistic and unacheivable concept of what their body should look like. This bombardment of unrealistic expectations eventually leads them to hate their own bodies, and they starve and cut and poison themselves in a vain attempt to live up to the fantastical standard set by marketers and media.
Has the prolific bombardment of a mass media inculcation of what ultimately becomes self hatred created a cultural reality where we do in fact find it common for people to hate their own bodies? Something that possibly earlier cultures who were free of this bombardment would have been unfamiliar with? What does a culture of self hatred cause with regard to our ability to relate to God? What does it cause with regard to our ability to relate to each other?
I think it is very significant. The second greatest commandment according to Christ regards self love as the standard by which we are able to love others.
Mark 12:31 "And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
Hatred of our own bodies leads to an inability to love others.