We all have them in our lives…people that we just don’t like, or who don’t like us.
They’re in our families…on our jobs…in our churches…we see them on television…sometimes we’re even married to them.
We may or may not know them, and they may or may not know us.
It could be that you used to be very close, but something happened.
Life happened and you reacted to it differently.
It could be that you have opposing views on a cause that is near and dear to your heart.
Sometimes you don’t even know why. It could be something very subtle.
Have you ever found yourself saying this?
“I don’t know why, but I just don’t like ___________.”
There’s something about ____________ that I just don’t like.
We may not like the way they look…the way they behave…the way they treat others…they may have even mistreated us or someone we love.
Stop right now and take a moment to think about the people who you don’t like.
Be careful, because… DON’T LIKE can lead to HATE.
Or, sometimes, DON’T LIKE is actually HATE in denial.
We all know that God commands that we love everyone, just as He loves everyone. In fact, He goes so far as to tell us to love our neighbor as ourselves…and defines a neighbor in the Parable of the Good Samaritan…
Luke 10:25-37 (NKJV)
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’[h] and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”[i] 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?” 30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him,and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed,[j] he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” 37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “GO AND DO LIKEWISE.”
Jesus chose this example because, as most of you know, the Jews and Samaritans DID NOT like each other. Some say that they hated one another, and through that context He gives us His expectation for us.
God already knew when He commanded that we love one another that we would…
Have opposing views…
Hurt one another…
Betray one another…
Abuse one another…
Sometimes be innocent victims…
But, still He said love EVERYONE!
How do we do that?
Here are a few suggestions to help you love someone you don’t like…
REMEMBER THEY’RE GOD’S CHILD TOO
We were all created in the image of Almighty God. Jesus died for all of our sins, in fact the bible says…
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[a] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Notice what King David said after he had Uriah killed so that he could have his wife…
Psalm 51:4 (NKJV)
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak,[a]
And blameless when You judge.
When someone hurts you…they are transgressing God’s commandment to love everyone, so they are hurting God 1st.
Always remember that GOD DOESN’T LOVE YOUR ENEMY ANY LESS THAN HE LOVES YOU! Just because we don’t like someone, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love them.
Even though they won’t, He wants everyone to accept Him and be saved. As they brutally crucified Jesus, He lovingly said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)
DO SOMETHING KIND FOR THEM
One of the most powerful things you can do for someone who you don’t like, or for someone who doesn’t like you is to make a conscious effort to be KIND to them.
Kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). Being KIND and NICE are two different things… Click here to find out more about Kind vs Nice)
You can be NICE to someone who you hate. You can be NICE to someone while positioning yourself to stab them in the back.
Being kind to someone is LOVE IN ACTION. It’s doing what’s best for them in spite of how you feel about them, or how they feel about you. It’s doing what’s best for them even if it’s unpleasant or uncomfortable for you are them.
Just as in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, being kind to someone you don’t like forces you into showing them love. It plants a seed of God’s love into them and anyone else who may witness the kindness.
Kindness is exercising your love muscle. It allows you the opportunity to not only see them as God sees them, but to act towards them as God does towards us when we hurt Him.
YOU CAN LOVE THE PERSON AND HATE THE BEHAVIOR
Do you think that God loves all of our behavior? Of course not. He hates sin…and we all sin.
God hates sin, but loves the sinner…and that’s what He expects us to do. When we accept Jesus and repent of our sins, He…
Propitiates our sins…covers or atones for them. (1 John 2:2)
Justifies us…or counts us as being righteous. (Romans 5:1)
And, even those who have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior are recipients of His mercy He loves enough to withhold His wrath even though He doesn’t LIKE their behavior. (Luke 6:36)
God expects us to look past the sin and love the person that He made in His image. Is it easy? No! But, that’s where Philippians 4:13 is most powerful…
13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.
Just as God does, we can learn to love the person and hate the behavior.
We can love them, and dislike how the are.
FIND SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE IN COMMON WITH THEM
Another way that you can find it within yourself to love someone who you don’t like is to find something that you have in common with them.
The key to conflict resolution is finding common ground. We all have and will sin. We all have to die one day. We all want to be happy. We all want to be valued.
Look at what the apostle Paul did to reach others for Christ…
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NKJV)
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law,[a] that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God,[b] but under law toward Christ[c]), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as[d] weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
We all have more in common than we may think. Sometimes when we don’t like someone, we don’t want to see what we have in common with them.
Finding something in common with them is a way to see yourself in them…hence, “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
REMEMBER THAT SOMETIMES, YOU’RE THE PERSON SOMEONE DOESN’T LIKE
When we’re honest with ourselves…sometimes we are that person that someone doesn’t like. Not only that, sometimes we have given them a GOOD reason to ‘not like us’.
Lastly, remember this…When we judge that someone deserves to ‘not be liked’, we are placing that same judgment on ourselves…
Matthew 7:1-2 (NKJV)
Do Not Judge
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
Notice that I didn’t try to convince you to like anyone. Just learn to love them through what you dislike about them.