"Love is born of an earnest consideration of the object loved." And: "Love follows knowledge." Love is an emotional response aroused in the will by visions of the good.Now Willard goes on to relate the principle to the process of our learning to love God. We learn about the Person of God. And with that knowledge we get a vision of all the good He is, and so we love Him. But in my view it also applies to knowing and loving people.
I remember when I used to go to Theotherapy Seminars, after a person in need had worked through some knotty personal problem expressing all the good and the bad in themselves, everyone present always felt love for them. You might think people would be turned off by the expression of all kinds of personal and relational dirty laundry but no. And the reason is that after the revelations we knew the person a little better and could empathize and feel love and compassion.
I often say to people who are worried about the possibility of their being rejected by another person, "When they know you better they will love you more."
If we hide behind facades others will not know to love us and if we do not seek out others, allowing them to share their lives with us, we will not have any real grounds for really loving them as they are.