Can You Love Someone You Don't Like?

Can You Love Someone You Don't Like? YES, I believe you can!

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

I really struggle with this one! Can I say that and still be a pastor? I sure hope so because it is the truth! Fortunately I am the pastor of MERCY church! :) From my many conversations with pastor friends, it's difficult for most of us. I mean let's be honest, it's difficult to love even people you don't gel with, or those who have opposing views, or frankly even those you just don't like for whatever reason - maybe it's the way they walk or talk or look. Maybe it's just me, the good thing is that it doesn't happen real often, but there are people I have met and I instantly just don't like. There's just something about certain people that can rub you the wrong way. I am not always sure just what that is? It could be my own insecurities, something from my past could be clouding my judgment, or I could be sensing something bad about a person. It's hard to tell at times isn't it? It is for me!

And unfortunately in life people burn ya, or stab you in the back, that is always such a blessing in life. Ha ha! It happens a lot in ministry, and I am sure there have been people who have felt that I have stabbed them in the back, of course I never see it like that ... we are never guilty are we? It's always the other person, of course!


I’ve wondered this before; so what does it mean to love my enemy? Do I have to accept their friendship request on facebook? Do I have to stop and talk to them when I see them at the grocery store? Do I need to invite them over for dinner? Do they get invited to my birthday party? Questions I struggle with, especially as a pastor who is supposed to love everyone. And does to love them, mean I like them? Great questions, I think!

I am not totally sure I have all the answers, and frankly I could be tainted since I have been hurt many times over my 20 years in ministry by people and have learned to protect myself, but I do feel I have a healthy perspective. I also realize that being hurt is relative … what I mean is that I have had people hurt me by telling me the truth about myself, but it was a good hurt a hurt I learned from it and became a better person because of it. Another blog entry another time; but can people really hurt me? Or do I allow what they do to hurt me? Interesting! I do know that there are times in life we must protect ourselves, just as Proverbs 4: 23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." When there is someone in your life who is constantly hurting you, you must protect yoursef ... Boundaries! And sometimes ... Distance!

Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

The answer to all my ranting questions above would be, NO! Absolutely not! I truly believe you can love someone and not like them. To love isn’t to like. People, well meaning Christians, get this all wrong and are taken advantage of too many times. The older I get and the closer I get to Jesus the more and more I want to spend time with those who really are love people. I can’t stand being around bitter, pessimistic, negative, hateful people. I just can’t. And the older I get I find myself only wanting to be around people who love people, and love me (I mean seriously, who wants to hang around people who don’t like you … that would be like wanting to walk around wearing sandpaper underwear!)

Maybe I’m being too vulnerable here, but there are people I do not like (I know, shocking,) but I can say that I love them. And how I know this is that I wish them no ill will! I wish them well, I really do. I wouldn’t ignore them if we happen to be eating at the same restaurant. Now I wouldn’t invite them to sit at the table with me, but I wouldn’t ignore them either. You must keep a clean heart. It’s a fine line. Also, when you keep your own heart right before God you tend to be more sympathetic to people, even people who have hurt you. Usually those who get real bitter or hateful are just emotionally and spiritually immature. They are unable to process issues thinking of it from the other person’s point of view; they only think of things from their side of it … that is a small minded person.

There have been times people have really done me wrong, and it has taken me a couple months to clean my heart, but I, at least at the writing of this blog, have been successful keeping my heart clean. There isn’t a person alive I wouldn’t at least say “Hi” to if I saw them out somewhere. That could change, you never know. Ha ha!

So what about you is your heart clean? Even towards those who have done you wrong in your mind? Don’t live life bitter, it sucks the life out of you! Forgive, and LOVE!