Knowing what love is and what it isn’t has become a huge problem in our world. We have lost the true meaning of love.
Why does the Great Commandment instruct us to love God first, others second? Because this is the order in which God himself loves. God’s love did not begin in Genesis 1:1. It is eternal, existing before creation, having found eternal expression within the Trinity. It required no object outside the Godhead. We love because he first loved us. He loves us, having first and eternally loved himself.
Once we recognize that the love God has bestowed upon us is not merely an emotion but an act of the will, we are forced to reevaluate how we love others. Specifically, we must reevaluate our categories. No longer can we parse our fellow humans into the categories of “lovable” and “unlovable.”
Christian love is giving to others those things that you would want them to give you if you were in their situation — and it’s doing so even if they can’t pay you back. In fact, it’s doing so especially if they can’t pay you back! Christian love is respect for others. It’s mercy. It’s charity.