Monday, January 27, 2014

Who Says I Have To Like You?

Two years ago, when I first truly started studying God and love, I realized I was one confused gal. I had this burning desire to love people but I kept meeting the same roadblock along the way: I didn't like a lot of people I met...or knew. I felt like a fraud. I mean how could I truly love people if I didn't like them? How could I say I loved you when I found you annoying and didn't want to be around you? No Bueno

I was deeply contemplating this one day and the truth literally smacked me in my spirit. I remembered the greatest instruction ever given by Jesus Christ in the Bible:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love your neighbor. Hmm…love. And then I got it. Christ did not say anything about like!  I don’t have to like everyone.  You don’t have to like everyone. We are not called to. There will never be a time when you will like everybody and there will never be a time when everybody will like you. Our spiritual duty is not to like each other, it is to love each other.

Like is NOT a prerequisite for love.

Our Savior did not like everyone; he loved everyone.  There were many characteristics he did not appreciate in a lot of people. That is the reason he always spoke about forgiveness and encouraged people to repent.

To like someone you have to be of like-mind with the person. That is why we are always advised to find “like-minded” people to surround ourselves with. The people you like tend to be the ones who share your social, philosophical, and spiritual beliefs. Not everyone does. So, you are not capable of liking everyone.

To love someone you have to make the choice to love them, whether you are both of like-mind or not. You have to choose to see them as an imperfect being, just like yourself, and be as kind and compassionate to them as you would want someone else to be to you.

You are 100% capable of loving everyone.

 Yes, those whose beliefs you do not agree with. Yes, those who hurt you. Yes, those who have said heinous things and committed heinous crimes. Yes, those you don’t like. It doesn't matter.

Like is NOT a prerequisite for love.

Make the conscious decision to be kind and compassionate to all people, especially those you don’t like. If you see someone you don’t like in need, help them. If someone you don't like asks you for a favor, go ahead and do it if you can. If a negative thought about someone you don’t like comes to mind, refute it as soon as you can and do something pretty radical – pray for them.

Not, “lord, help this girl before I kill her!” Instead, “Lord, I do not like her behavior but she matters as much to you as I do so help me see her with compassion. Help her grow through her own pains and shortcomings as I hope you help me to do too.” Quick and simple.

Do not run around gossiping with others about the person. I don’t care what they did. Gossip is never validated.  Neither you nor I will ever have the spiritual right to complain about and/or criticize someone to other people. If you are overwhelmingly upset by what a person has done or how they behave, talk to God about it. Seriously, take some alone time and communicate with God about the person.  Ask for resolution and peace in the situation, even if you don’t end up liking each other.

Too many times we allow our dislike for people’s choices in their lives to stop us from loving them. That is one of the biggest mistakes we can ever make. Every time we withhold our love from people we rob ourselves of the opportunity for true soul connection with them and the fulfillment that brings. It does not matter if we don't like them. Our spiritual duty is not to like each other, it is to love each other.

It’s not easy (trust me, I stumble in this area at times) but it’s not supposed to be. The practice of continuously loving people, those we like and especially those we don't, is what helps us develop our moral character. It is easy to love those we already like, there's no great achievement in that. The great spiritual achievement is in going the extra mile to love those we don't already like. In this way we control our ego - our need to like people and approve of them - and strengthen our divinity instead. It is the heart of true soul-check living.

So, stop waiting to like people before you love them. Don’t use your dislike for someone as an excuse to think of them poorly, speak to them/of them poorly, or treat them poorly. Remember, there is someone out there who doesn’t like you. I doubt you’d enjoy them being unloving to you simply because you’re not necessarily their cup of tea.
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2 comments:

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    1. Thank you Brittany! I had a big issue with this and I realized it was distracting me from genuinely loving people. I felt the need to share what I learned with others having the same dilemma.

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