The Heart of the Matter

Matthew 21-22

matt 22

Thursday, May 4


Is it possible to love someone without liking them?  I have heard many people say that it is possible.  I suspect they believe that love is more of an action than a feeling, and since they are willing to act in a loving way to someone they don’t like, they believe it is possible to love someone without liking them.  That thinking never sat real well with me through the years, but I couldn’t really come up with a solid reason of why that was so.  Then one day it hit me as I was reading the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:36-40.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  Jesus listed three different ways that we are to love someone, with our heart, soul, and mind.

I believe that loving someone with our mind has to do with our thoughts and intentions.  True, an intention that is never acted on is pretty worthless, but I would say if you had the intention, you love that person more than someone who didn’t even have the intention.  If you desire to send someone a card to get them through a rough time, you are loving them with your mind even if the card is never sent.

If you love someone with your soul, I believe you are loving them with your life or your actions.  You actually send the card.  So in a way, I agree that it is possible to love someone without liking them because it would be a true act of love to send the card even if you didn’t like the person.

However, if you love someone without liking them, you would be missing the third part of love that Jesus referred to, the heart of the matter.  He said we need to love God with all of our heart.  I believe this has to do with the feelings or “liking” part of love.  Moreover, if we are to love God with our hearts, we should love people the same way if we are to love them in a complete way.  So yes, if you love someone, you should also like them.  If you don’t like them, you are missing one of the ways to love someone.

But what about the jerks out there that are soooo hard to love?  They may have wronged you and not felt any remorse.  They might hate your guts still today.  How is it possible to like these people?  Suppose a brother killed a sister.  Do you think the mother would still have feelings for her son?  I think it is very likely that the mother would still love the son dearly even though she would be distraught at what he did.  And that is the key; you don’t have to like someone’s actions to like the person.  It is possible to still like someone without liking what they did to you.

I want to go one step further with this.  If you are having trouble liking someone, I would strongly suggest that you need to forgive them.  If you have hard feelings toward someone, you are holding something against them, which means you have not forgiven them.  If you do not forgive them, God will not forgive you.  I encourage you to think about all of the relationships you have (school, work, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, people you go to church with, etc.) and identify anyone that you have hard feelings about.  If you are having trouble liking them, you need to forgive them…today.

-Rick McClain

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