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How can I love a person if I don't even like them?

Often when we hear the word "love," we automatically think of a romantic kind of love or something like a mother-daughter or father-son type of love. When talking about loving someone in terms of the Bible though, it's not the "Nicholas Sparks" kind of love or the "I love you because I have to" kind of love—it's agape love, the sacrificial love of God.

Love is talked about many, many times in the Bible. Jesus actually commanded us to love one another. He said that the single most important commandment was to love the Lord your God, and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:29-31). Your "neighbor" refers to anyone around you—your classmates, coworkers, people like that. Oh, and don't forget those living around you, like your actual neighbors.

A great passage from 1 John 4 talks about loving each other. Verse 11 says, "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." The Apostle John is telling us to increase our responsibility to love one another. "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also" (v. 20-21).

This passage is pretty much pointing out that if can't even love the people around us when we can see them, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? John shows that it is impossible for us to love God without loving other people; the two have to go hand in hand.

Every human being is created in God's image (Genesis 1:27). Every human is His masterpiece, and when we insult them, we are ultimately insulting God's creation and thereby the Creator. But that doesn't change the fact that we aren't going to get along with everybody. So how can we possibly love those we don't really care for? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Remember how God sees you, despite all your problems. There are some days that I cannot believe God would even want a relationship with me because of how stubborn or sinful I can be. However, even in my sin and shame and ugliness, God sees me, and shows His love for me by having sent His one and only Son to die in order to have a relationship with me (Romans 5:8). It's so amazing that, despite my shortcomings, God still loves me. When we look at others through this lens, loving those we don't care for can become a bit easier.

  2. We love because God first loved us. We couldn't love anyone or anything if God didn't love us first (1 John 4:19). We are able to love our family, friends, and even our enemies, as Jesus commanded (Matthew 5:44), because we have received love from God. Because of that, we are now able to pass this love onto others.

  3. Remember who you represent. As Christians, we have to remember that we should no longer be like the world or desire the things of it. Instead, we ought to look like Christ so that when people see us, they ultimately see Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:20). God loves everyone, despite their flaws and imperfections, and He will certainly give us the strength to love one another through the Holy Spirit living inside of us. And who knows, maybe someone could be interested in God after seeing how you can love other people, even those who are considered "unlovable" (John 13:34-35).

The next time you see that girl who gets on your nerves or the boy who knows how to push your buttons, think of them as how God sees them: His masterpiece creations. You don't have to be their best friend. You may not ever be able to fully respect them. And that's okay.

But as Christians, we still must love all people—no matter who they are. Try to talk to them or say hi. Maybe all they need is a little of God's love. Don't we all?

TL;DR

Even though some people are hard to love (or even like), as Christians, we still must show love, compassion, and forgiveness to all people—no matter who they are (Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-31; 1 John 4:11). Every human being is created in God's image (Genesis 1:27) and is His masterpiece; when we insult them, we're insulting the Creator. Maybe all that person needs is a little of God's love. Seriously, don't we all?

By: Stephanie

Stephanie is a 21-year old with a passion to see believers grow and become passionate in their relationship with the Lord. She is a lover of sweat tea, sunshine, and the freedom that comes from Christ. In her free time, she can be found singing, playing guitar, writing or jamming out to Hawk Nelson, Phil Wickham, and worship music. Her dreams are to become a worship leader and a published author, while living a life full of fun and joy that comes from the Lord.

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