I may love you, but I surely don’t like you

We’ve all heard that expression, ‘You have to love everyone, but you don’t have to like them.’  What exactly does that mean?  How is that possible?

I guess my question is, how can you love someone and not like them?  I am called to love my brother (sister).  For most of us, that means different things.  We all experience various types of love.  There’s the ‘I love you and want to spend every moment of my life with you’ love, and the ‘I love you because you’re cute, funny, make-me-feel-good-about-myself love,’ and the ‘I love you but I know we can’t be together love,’ etc. etc.  But is there really a ‘I love you but I really, really don’t like you’ love?  Think about it…..

I’m not saying that we have to love everyone, accept everyone and invite them into our ‘inner circles’.  There are some people who need to be kept at a distance, and should be.  And, I will admit, there are some people who I just don’t like, no matter how hard (or not hard), I have tried.  Can I really say that I love them, however?

I can say that I do not wish them ill, that I hope that they have a good life (far from mine), but is that ‘loving them?’  I must say that I’ve always struggled when people say that we must love everyone but that doesn’t mean that we have to like them.  It just seems a bit of a cop-out, a little too easy. 

Can I love you but not like you?  That remains somewhat of a mystery to me…..

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17 Replies to “I may love you, but I surely don’t like you”

  1. I like your attitude. I think it makes it easier to do this, to love but not like, with the honesty you display. Like wishing someone a good life far from you! Oh I laughed with that one. Honesty cuts clear through to the heart and somehow lightens a situation, making it easier to handle.

  2. Joanne above reminds me of wishing someone to be promoted up and out of my life…
    I find your question interesting at this point in my life. I think I can love and like someone, and be quite angry or frustrated at that person.

    My having breast cancer twelve years ago now, first, taught me to forgive; then, I realized that I need to be forgiven as well. And, of course, bless those who are a source of frustration, since I need to be the change I want to find in the world.

    I found this on FB this morning, and I thought I could share it here:
    The human heart is a fragile machine, a delicate entity. It is not made to hold the sorrow we have decided to store within it. Take a moment to see if you can shift your sadness from your heart. Pass some to the universe. Ask other parts of your body to bear the strain. Make room for love in your heart.
    Maybe I just need to release some of the sadness in my heart and I will be able to love better…

    Blessings, Andie.
    Thank you again.

    1. Thank for for sharing this Claire. I love what you found about the heart, shift things out to make room for love. I also love what you said about promoting people up and out! Great imagery. Great wisdom Claire

  3. You sure are right — it’s hard to wrap your mind around, isn’t it? I find that about a lot of Jesus’ teachings, frankly. I mean, the “Love your enemy” command seems pretty hard to achieve, too. But I guess that was His intention — to turn our way of thinking and assuming totally upside-down, to get us thinking outside of the box…way outside of the box sometimes!

  4. I’ve pondered this question many times as well. The best conclusion I’ve come to so far is…maybe we can love people for who they are and not for what they do. So while we may not like someone’s actions, we can value and love them, to see beyond their actions. It’s not easy! The best antidote I’ve found for loving a difficult person is to pray for them a lot.

    Great question… You always seem to make me think.

    1. I like what you said Jade, look beyond…that’s tough sometimes, especially when there is hurt or ego involved, but your thoughts are wonderful. Thanks.

  5. Your post made me stop and think. There’s someone in my family I just don’t like or like to spend time with. But at the same time I love that person for his relationship in my family. Praying about and for him helps me have the right attitude.

  6. Andie: Once again you made me think and it is painful! I know I have said that about people, and now I am trying to think who. I think Peggy touched on it. Sometimes you do love someone, such as a family member, whom you really do love, but because of personality quirks or differences, you really don’t “click” with them.

    1. Yes, Lori there are people I definately don’t click with. And it can be painful, as you said. I suppose these people are in our lives for a reason….perhaps another post about that!

  7. Andie,
    I’ve heard this expression too and have never quite known what to make of it. My thoughts are similar to Jade’s – seeing beyond their actions to who they really are inside. Prayer helps too. I don’t know why but it’s kind of hard not to like a person when you are praying up a storm for them 🙂 Maybe it’s because you have a vested interest in their wellbeing after all that prayer (lol).

  8. Mystery to me, too. I can give you the theological answer — the way it should be — the definition of Biblical love. But (you knew there was a ‘but’ in there, didn’t you), I have not yet learned to put flesh to it. I wonder if Mother Theresea was one in a bazillion people who didn’t seem to know any other emotion than love.

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