You don’t have to like someone to love them.
I never really experienced an intense dislike for someone until recently.
Okay, so I’ve definitely disliked people before. But they were always people I could avoid. I could choose not to hang out or work closely with them. What I meant was, until recently, I have never experienced an intense dislike for someone I cannot simply avoid.
I totally struggled with this because I am used to being liked and liking back. I make friends easily and get along with most people. So it was strange, at first, to admit to myself that yes, I truly dislike this person.
But you know what? That is okay.
I honestly felt relieved once I admitted this to myself. I finally stopped trying to convince myself that I needed–was obligated–to like this person.
The truth is, in a world this diverse, it is impossible to like and be liked by everyone! And sometimes, those “unlikable” people happen to appear in the close circles of family and friends.
We don’t have to like.
But, we as Christians are called to love.
Our Higher Calling
My friends, “like” is so vastly different than “love.”
“Like” is based on emotion. “Love,” on the other hand, is a choice.
By choosing to love, we choose to respect, show compassion, listen, be patient, and endure (that’s a big one).
Tell me: Does it sound easy, or impossible?
I admit that I struggle with more than one of these. For example, as I am an extrovert by nature, I find it easy to talk and laugh with most people.
But, with someone I truly dislike, I find myself at a loss for words. It becomes harder for me to think of things to talk about or questions to ask. I struggle to engage in conversation. Well, that’s not very inclusive, now is it? It’s not very courteous. Because nobody likes to be left out.
It would totally just be easier to ignore this person altogether! (But…in case you haven’t figured it out by now, this is not easy.)
Doing God’s will is not always easy!
Truth be told, I need practice. (And I would guess that you do, too. 😉 )
Learning to Love
Where to start?
Well, you may want to think about those people who come to mind when you think about “dislike.” What is it that makes them so unlikable? Which of the areas of showing love would be most difficult for you? How can you improve in these areas the next time you must interact with this person?
Remember, you may dislike someone and know for a fact that you will probably never become friends, and that is okay! But, you can still show love.
It will lift a burden from your shoulders, and it will likely bridge a connection between the two of you, even if it is just a tiny one. 🙂
As an added bonus, I’ll have the opportunity to teach my own children the value of showing love regardless of how we feel.
So. Who is someone you will choose to show love to this week? And how will you do it?
It’s a journey, for sure. I support you, and (most importantly) so does God!
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