“I have a question for you, my friend,” Stan began. “Do you think it’s possible to love someone you don’t like?”
“Sounds like a trick question to me,” I replied. “How could I possibly love someone I don’t even like? Doesn’t loving grow from liking?”
“I don’t think that’s necessarily true,” Stan replied. “In fact, I think it’s possible to love someone I don’t even know or don’t know very well.”
“How so?” I responded.
“Looking at the source of love,” Stan said, “and the source of love is God. God is love. That’s His very nature. As well, love is the first-listed fruit of the Spirit.”
“Let me give you an example,” Stan continued. “At one point in my life, we lived near someone, a neighbor, who was really unlikeable. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, to like about the guy. Because of that, I avoided him as much as possible until one day when my eyes were opened to the truth.”
“What truth?” I asked.
“That I didn’t have to like my neighbor in order to love him as God loves him. Reading in the apostle John’s first letter opened me to the truth that God so loved me that He sent Jesus to pay the price to reconcile me to God. He did that out of His love, even though I was not very lovable or even likable!”
“You?” I said. “Not lovable or likable?”
“I know that’s hard to believe,” Stan replied with a smile, “but I know me a whole lot better than you do!”
“In any event,” he continued, “I saw from John’s letter that I am to love in the same way God loves. As a result of that, one day the Holy Spirit encouraged me to go over to talk with my neighbor. I went over. We had some small talk and then I told him the truth of what God did through Jesus because His of love for him.”
“How did your neighbor react to that?” I asked.
“He teared up,” Stan replied. “And through his tears he said that no one had ever told him about God’s love and that he desperately needed to hear that he was loved.”
“What do you think he meant by that?”
“Not sure,” Stan replied, “but I remember that it struck me as something really important.”
“Was that the end of the conversation?” I asked.
“No,” Stan replied, “and what happened next nearly knocked me over.”
“He wanted to know if it was possible for him to love like that,” Stan replied.
“Wow,” I responded, “a real open door!”
“Big time!” Stan said. “And I took advantage of the opportunity. I told him about God’s plan of salvation, how to change his life and eternal destination by accepting God’s free and gracious gifts that flow out of His love, and how to love in the way God loved and loves him.”
“How did he respond to that?” I asked.
“That day he became my brother in Christ!” Stan replied.
“All from loving someone you didn’t even think you liked,” I said. “Quite a day!”
“You’re right, my friend,” Stan replied. “He went from being someone I didn’t like, to someone I loved, to being my brother.”
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10, 11.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, . . . . Galatians 6:22.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.
And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to Him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and Prophets.” Matthew 22:36 – 40.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you loved me so much that you sent your only begotten Son to pay the price to reconcile me to you. Thank you for the people who loved me enough to tell me the truth of your provision of life eternally with you when it’s time, as well as the opportunity for the eternal life of knowing you on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I don’t love others enough to tell them the truth of your provision. Please forgive me. And please help me in following your lead to help others know the truth of conversion for eternity and transformation for this side of eternity. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you think it is possible to love someone you don’t like? Why or why not? Is there a difference between how we love and how God loves? If so, what is the difference and what would it look like for you to love as God loves? Is loving others the way God loves them something you would like for your life? If so, do you know how that can happen?