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recovery

Loving people we dislike

Many of us don’t know the difference between loving and liking one another. Keeping people close that we don’t genuinely like doesn’t work and can wreak havoc in our lives.

We can love everyone spiritually. But liking anyone depends on compatibility and is for select people who, through their actions, have earned our appreciation and company.

When someone treats people (including ourselves) in hurtful ways, we are perfectly able to love them – if we genuinely have a relationship with God. But we will not be able to like them. They don’t deserve us, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

After all, not all company edifies us. We seek good company that we like: peaceful, joyful, loving, forgiving, thoughtful. And, yes, interesting and fun.

Company that makes us feel uncomfortable, judged, hurt, offended, manipulated, insulted or even just bored and disinterested is therefore not likeable. It is a blessing to love these people, but we don’t have to seek their company or force ourselves to like them.

We need to learn to gracefully handle people whose presence doesn’t edify us. They don’t need to be active participants in our lives.

Our calling is to love them. Pray for them. Help them. And wish for their hearts to be transformed so they can enjoy a love that will enable them to treat us as we expect to be treated.

We can bring them back into our lives as friends, family or partners if they demonstrate a change of attitude with actions (not words) for a significant amount of time, so we see consistency.

Remember: We are called to love one another, not to like everyone.

Anything beyond that is self-righteous and will destroy us.

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