We are commanded, in Matthew 22:36-40, to first and foremost love God with all our being- mind, body, and soul. But, the second commandment tells us to love our neighbour as ourselves. Difficult? ABSOLUTELY!
My world was rocked when I found out that love and like are not synonymous. They don’t mean the same thing! Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to “like” everyone; but, we are instructed to love them. So what does this mean?
Well, over the years I’ve met many individuals that are difficult to like. There are many people who live lives that are morally, and ethically, different than mine. I might not agree with how they live their lives, how they treat people, and I might not even agree with how they treat their dog, but I am commanded to love them- not like them.
Everyone we see is portraying some type of image. It might be real, or it could be fake. Either way, the image they are portraying doesn’t necessarily reflect who they are inside. If they portray an image we don’t like, or wouldn’t reflect ourselves, that doesn’t change the fact that we are commanded to love them. If they behave in a way that isn’t in line with our own belief systems, we don’t have to like them (in fact, we may not like them because of how they behave) but we still have to love them.
I reconcile this commandment to love our neighbours to mean we should love the eternal soul everyone has. I love the heart of the person, not the image, action, or behaviour. And when I love, I love what that person is on the inside- NOT the image or actions being portrayed on the outside. But, this still doesn’t mean you have to like the person.
You may know friends, co-workers, or even family who are difficult to like. And that’s okay. But, I will encourage you to see the heart, the eternal soul and love them. Sometimes it means loving from a distance. Sometimes it means avoiding potentially harmful situations (certain family, friends, or work events) to avoid outright conflict, but we can do something to follow the commandment to love them.
Be sure to lift others up in prayer. Especially those that are difficult to like. Not to ask God to make them more likeable, but to allow God to show you how to love them!
From time to time, Rev D posts random thoughts about life as a Pastor and Servant of Christ. He has a unique perspective. Blog entries are posted randomly.