PURSUING THE "VERTICAL" LEADS TO "HEALTHY" HORIZONTALS
Everyone has desire to cultivate emotionally-healthy relationships, whether in the family, social gatherings or any context of life's "marketplace." A plethora of books have been written about self-help, self-love and self-betterment. And these writings purport the idea that if you must love yourself before you can love others...this is not only wrong but a lie based on a very humanistic idea!
The Bible makes it clear that "no one has ever hated his own flesh" (Eph. 5:29). We all a fine joy, thank you, loving ourselves. The key to being a loving person in the horizontal context of relationships is not, as it turns out, rooted in the current cultures obsession with "self-love." It actually lies in a focus that is Vertical - a passionate pursuit of loving God, "with all your heart, mind, soul and strength" (Mark 12:30). The application of the first "Great Commandment" IS the answer to the age-old question, "How do I love people, especially when they are 'unlovable'?" And that answer is - Love God, first and supremely, and He will empower you to love everyone around you...EVERYONE!
So, how does this relate to worship? When we value God, first and foremost, we value what He values...and He values all who are made in His image...oh, and it turns out that that is EVERYONE. A life of God-worship will inevitably lead to a dsiplay of agape - God's unique love, which is selfless, sacrificial and unconditional. In the "macro" sense, a life of worship is life of loving God and others enmeshed and driven by this kind of love.
Indeed, if one wants to enjoy healthy horizontal relationships, a healthy relationship with The Vertical One is a necessary pre-requisite.