I think my new favourite line that I absolutely hate is ‘I don’t like them.’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this line escape from people’s mouths. It’s come from mine too, more times than I would like to admit to. However, over the past little while as my patience, self-control and love has been challenged constantly by people and by God I have discovered how I’ve started to like more people. The people that used to drive me nuts to be around I don’t mind being around them at all. The people that most people point out when talking behind their backs about how much they talk about themselves and how rude they are don’t bother me as much as they used to.
I don’t even understand this idea of not liking people anymore. What does it mean not to like someone? Do we just not like them as a person? Or is it a certain personality trait? Or what about something they do or a habit that they are attached to that we can’t stand? Is it the fact that they are hypocritical or judgmental or prideful? Are they just annoying and overly hyper or rude? Are they embarrassing or talk to much about themselves? The list could go on for miles of why we like and don’t like people.
This makes no sense. This is not the way Christ taught us to live. I don’t think we really have the option of liking or not liking people. Loving people does not mean tolerating them when you have to be around them and trying to keep your distance the rest of the time. Loving people doesn’t mean that we can pick and choose who we will be nice to.
Some of us have bigger lists of who we like and don’t like. You will find that it could be the same people on all these lists. For some it is more personal. Really, I don’t think it matters. I think we all need to get over ourselves and stop not liking people. Realize that the people we don’t like are people too just like us. We all mess up. We are all annoying. We are all retarded. We are all prideful. Just because some people are more open with this stuff or struggle with it more in public or are just plain not as ‘good’ people does not at all give us the right to resolve to ‘tolerating’ them.
Go through the list of people you don’t like. I’ve gone through mine. Really all the reasons are good ones. The people I don’t like are too zealous for their intelligence, are prideful and arrogant, are selfish, love to talk about themselves, are rude, are ignorant to the obvious and are loud. Your list is different. Now its time to take that list and give it up. What the heck are we doing not liking people because of how they act or live their lives. When was that ever a basis for our love? If we don’t ‘like’ someone, then I’m sorry, we don’t love them. As a follower of Christ we are commanded to love our neighbor. Look past their faults, their annoyingness, their pride and everything else we don’t like and love them despite. Loving people that we like is way too easy. It is not the way of Christ at all to stop there.
Next time we make a comment about how or why we don’t like someone. Next time we don’t hang out with people because someone we don’t like is going to be there. Next time we simply think about how much we really don’t like someone. Hopefully we can all keep in mind that people think that way about us all the time. Hopefully we can remember that the way of Christ means loving (really true SELFLESS loving) those people that drive us nuts and we don’t like at all.