TSOP Writer's Corner

And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
-1 John 1:4-

TSOP Writer's Corner

Title

LOVE vs. LIKE: Can You Love Without Liking?

Let me start by saying:  There may be those who have differing opinions and that’s okay.  As I spoke with God on this issue, this is what He laid on my heart to share.

 

Can you love another person without liking them?  The short answer is yes. This issue can be a confusing one in the Body of Christ.  People will dislike another and may begin to have feelings of guilt.  As we read the Bible and listen to pastors preach on the issue of love, we may feel like we are in some sort of violation.  “But God, I really don’t LIKE _______.”  We go on to ask for forgiveness and find that the feelings really don’t change. As a matter of fact, the feeling of dislike may grow greater because we are trying to force ourselves to like someone we really don’t mesh with.

 

The Bible speaks about love extensively but remains relatively silent on “like.” So how am I supposed to know if I’m out of order with God if I dislike someone?  Listen, God created each one of us to be very different.  There may be personality traits and characteristics you may not like in a person. Certain personality types simply do not mesh well.  Is that necessarily a sin?  I’d venture to say no. There may even be other believers that you may not like and there is nothing requiring all of us to be best friends.  (It is worth mentioning that if your dislike is a result of another person sinning against you, the Bible tells us how to deal with that issue in Matthew 18: 15-17.) Sin creeps in, however, when you are unable to control your dislike.  What do I mean by that, and where does love come in?

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-6 tells us what love is.  “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  It is possible to dislike someone yet, love them – the two are mutually exclusive. It’s a fuzzy line and that is where most believers fall short.  Our dislike causes us to reject love.  1 Corinthians 13:4-6 should be our checklist.  Are you patient with and kind to the person you dislike?  Do you envy them?  Are you easily angered by them?  Do you keep records of their wrongs?  Are you delighted in their failures or downfall? Do you honor them? Do you put yourself before them?  It is important to compare our situations with the Word of God.

 

You also sin in your dislike if it stifles the Kingdom.  Do you refuse to use your gift for the glory of God simply because you dislike someone?  What if you were asked to use your gift in conjunction with the gift of the person you may not like?  Would you refuse?  If you would, or have done this, it’s sin.  Your dislike of another person should never cause you to withhold your gifts from the Kingdom. If you are the head of a ministry, do you stifle the gifts of those you may not like?  Do you refuse to ask them to use their gifts because of your personal feelings? This is wrong, and it does not honor God.

 

As believers, it is important to not allow our personal feelings, especially those of dislike, to cause us to fall short of God’s glory.  Your disliking a person should not cause you refuse to pray with and for them.  It should not cause you to refuse to help them when you see a need.  It should not cause you to slander them.  It should not cause you to be unkind and malicious.

 

In short, it is impossible to like every person you meet, even other believers.  However, if our hearts are aligned and focused on the Kingdom, it should not stop us from working together to help one another, honor one another and most importantly glorify God and advance the Kingdom – that’s love despite dislike.

Deirdre N. Kelsey-Holley

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