Recently I wrote about what it means to “love yourself” as this relates to “loving your neighbor has yourself.” So, I have learned to love myself, now what?
The first major step in becoming one of those who love their neighbors as themselves is to decide to live compassion. This can only be done if we love God first and seek his Kingdom.
This explains why neighbor-love is not the first, but the second, commandment. Actually, two separate commandments, but one with two aspects. Love God (primary) and love your neighbor as yourself (can only follow loving God first)
What is compassion?
Compassion is to feel the needs of others.
Dallas Willard says this about compassion.
“Compassion is not something that can be turned on and off like a water faucet. It is always on. It is a constant burden of life, which many people reject. It requires resources of personal strength and it requires wisdom in action. Loving your neighbor as yourself is a matter of who you are, not, primarily, of what you decide to do. You can “afford” to be compassionate only if you know there is abundant compassion for you, toward you, by persons who have appropriate means. This is primarily God. “We love because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19)”
So, through intentionally receiving the love of God first, you can become the kind of person who can be compassionate.
Now, suppose, you are this person who has received compassion and can, therefore, afford to be compassionate. What’s next?