“You don’t have to LIKE them but you do have to LOVE them.”
An age old Christian phrase, often recited but rarely explained. It confused me growing up: what did it mean to love someone but not like them? Sometimes I don’t even like the people I do love, and I’m pretty sure they feel the same about me!
What does ‘love’ look like without ‘like’? Well, 1 Corinthians 13 gives a breakdown of what love does and doesn’t do: it’s not angry, doesn’t boast, believes, rejoices in and trusts others. If you go and read that chapter, it gives a place to begin. Hard to live up to but at least we have somewhere to start. As I work through this in my own life, there’s a couple of things that I think are really practical and applicable as we try and find the right way to dislike someone:
Don’t Talk About Them Behind Their Backs. Okay, so that thing they do is really irritating. And you know other people find it irritating too so the temptation is to bring it up and indulge in a good gossiping session. Resist and fight that temptation: you’re leading others astray too.
Compliment The Good. There’s almost definitely one good thing about someone you dislike. One character trait, one attribute, one shared interest. Compliment or talk about that. By speaking positivity and having a conversation where you both feel good, you’ll begin to shape your mental thoughts towards them. Who knows, you may discover another thing that you like!?
Check The Mirror: Often, it’s the things that we dislike in ourselves that most frustrate us in others. I struggle with people that talk about themselves all the time but mostly because I hate that I do that too. See, I’m doing it now! Ahh! Seriously, it’s true. Next time you find yourself irritated with someone, just check the mirror.