How to Love People You Don’t Like

 

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This was a topic we discussed on Sunday night at my church’s YA Bible study.  You know who I’m talking about.  Maybe it’s someone who’s loud, obnoxious personality GETS ON YOUR NERVES.  Or a know-it-all who drives you crazy.  Or someone who annoys you because they have yet to learn how to be quiet.  I’m sure we can all think of someone who we have trouble liking.  Some of us have many.

The first thing we talked about at Bible study was prayer.  Pray for this person that drives you crazy.  Pray that God would bless this person and draw them to Himself.  And also pray that God would change your heart towards them.

Next, find something positive about this person.  Instead of focusing on the negatives, find something they do well.  Maybe they’re louder than you’d like but they’re also the best at reaching out to new people or making sure everyone feels included.  Maybe they seem cocky but they’re also super intelligent.  They’re always at least one thing to find, sometimes more than one.

Also, don’t forget, Christ forgave us when we were His enemy.  Ephesians 4:32 reminds us: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Christ forgave us for so much more than we will ever have to forgive someone else.  He pours out unconditional love, and we are told to do the same.  Matthew 18:23-35 reminds us of the unmerciful servant: “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.   As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.   Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.  But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.  He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.  Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’  In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”  Don’t be like the unmerciful servant who focuses on what is owed instead of all that has been forgiven.

Lastly, I thought of one thing after Bible study.  I’m sure I annoy some people and drive them crazy.  If I want love to still be poured out towards me even though they may find it hard to like me, I need to do the same for those I find it hard to like.

 

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