I am back thinking about the need to love yourself in order to love God and people. It seems to me that love has two pieces. Love give priority in time, attention, resources and energy. And love gives the best. When we consider priority, it seems to me we already love ourselves. When we consider the best, we do not. We do not love God. We do not love others.
Love at its most basic, foundational building block is about giving: (again) time, attention, resources and energy. It is also concerned with what, how and why. We should give to meet needs. We give to foster what is best for that person. (As a follower of Christ, the best is transformation in Christ's image; the best is restoration of God's original design for people; the best is a love relationship with the Creator of all.)
An alcoholic needs alcohol. To buy him a bottle of scotch meets that need. However, it doesn't move him to Christ's image. It damages the image of God in the alcoholic. So, love cannot simply be meeting needs. Love needs to recognize truth about the object of love.
Maybe that's what this is all about. There is no before or after. It is a recognition of the truth God gives. It is an acceptance and a practice of that truth. What is that truth?
The truth is: God designed and created man. God intended man to be personal like he is personal. god intended man to be holy like he is holy. The implications of that are profound and many. But one thing is very true. God created man to give love and to receive love. God created man to give love to God and to receive love from God.
God does not love man because he is perfect or good. Man has surrendered his holiness. God loves man because man is designed to receive God's love. Even though main failed to fulfill his design and cannot fully love God -- though it could be argued that he can still truly love god -- God did not surrender. God is true to his nature. God chooses to love people. Jesus chooses to love people. And as followers of Jesus, we should choose to do what Jesus chooses to do. We should love people.
Is my spouse a person? Love your spouse.
Is my child a person? Love your child.
Is my co-worker a person? Love your co-worker.
Is my that man who cut me off and gave me the finger a person? Love your man.
Is I a person? Love yourself.