Is it possible to love the people we do not like?
More than we would like to admit we are driven by our biases and preferences. There are some people who we click better with while there are others who we find tiresome or irritating and are more different than we feel comfortable being with. We are attracted to what we find beautiful and driven away by dissimilarity. We love those who love us and like the people who give us attention. We dislike the people who pass us by without even glancing our way and we are irritated by people who are slow, unreliable, who smell bad or who only take and never give.
It is not easy for me to love boundlessly or unconditionally. However, this is what God challenges us to do.
It all starts with that we are loved. We are loved by God; unconditionally and undeservedly. No matter how badly we choose to behave or what we have said or done, we are loved. This process of loving starts with the fact that God loved us first. He loved us so much that he sent his only Son to save our lives and bring us back into his presence. Inspired by God’s limitless love for me, can I dare to love those I do not like?
Created for Relationship
Even if relationships can be challenging at times, we were created with a need for each other. We are called to be God’s hands and feet, and God often touches are lives through the people around us. Relationships are key in God’s paradigm of life. However, they can also be challenging. Even though we are new creations in Christ, our human nature still seeps through and steers our life. We want to love people unconditionally, but we all too often choose our comfort and well being over consideration and empathy.
Can God be here?
We often find God in the midst of situations and places where we probably would not expected to find him in. Places where we ourselves avoid going. He’s at the corner of the street, the hospital, prison, the orphanage and courtrooms. He can be found among the murders, orphans, those who walk on the wrong side of the tracks and with those who do not even like themselves.
A love which loves people we do not like needs to be supernatural. We have human limitations which make it impossible to love people we do not like or when we are afraid or we feel uncomfortable. We have a new identity and God’s love lives in our hearts. Because of this we are able to love the unloveable and to show love to people who do not deserve it.
How often to you challenge yourself to stretch beyond your comfort zone to touch the hand of a person you do not like? When you allow yourself to live a courageous, generous, and compassionate life, you will experience that your ability to love is greater than you think.
I pray daily that God would allow me to see people the way that he sees them and love them the way he loves them. Every single person is precious to God. Where you find people, there you will also find God. Let that thought challenge you to live a little more than you are loving right now. Stand up and give a little of your time to the people who you don’t think you get along well with. Be willing to be used by God for people you do not already love or usually spend time with. Ask God for the ability to love people the way he loves you: supernaturally and unconditionally.
By Anne Gustavsen
Translated by Emily Huyck
By White House photographer/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons