This is something that I have struggled with and often words that I have not embraced in my life.I think it’s been more like “I don’t like you, and sure as heck don’t love you.” Well, lately I feel like the Lord has been placing people in my life and on my heart that are hard for me to love; whether it’s an issue of personalities clashing, beliefs, or simply just one of those people that just rub you the wrong way (you know what i’m talking about). I think the Lord is trying to teach me how to live, love, and be more like Him, and an area that has been most unlike Him would probably be in the way that I treat (more like discount) those who I dislike. So, the Lord, in being so good and gracious to me, has not just left me alone in this to figure it out for myself. He has been helping me with my prayer life and with realizing He can change my heart if I let Him. In order to really do this I am realizing there are three things I have to pray for: my heart, and the person. I know that in order for me to truly care and love others, especially ones I don’t naturally like, it will only be the Lord in me. Before I get into these 2 points I want to address the question of, “Is it biblical? Am I really called to love everyone even if I don’t like them?”
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
“‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.“
“‘If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.“
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick;
who can understand it?”
In reading these verses, two of which were spoken by Jesus Christ himself, I think that there is no question of our calling to love one another despite our flesh and how we might feel about them.So, now the two things we can pray about that can help us love others even when we don’t like them.
Pray For Your Heart
First thing’s first, I believe we need to be praying about the condition of our heart. We need to pray to Him for help in battling the flesh, because I think it all comes down to the battle between the flesh and the Spirit. My flesh says, “It’s okay to not like everyone and just stick with my near and dear friends”, but the Spirit says, “I am called to love everyone and to treat them as I would want to be treated, therefore I should treat everyone with love and kindness.” Since putting away our fleshly desires is a daily, hourly, minute by minute struggle, the only way we can possibly overcome is through prayer and His word. I know that there is nothing good in me, so the only way that I can change is in praying for the Lord to change me.
Thank you for being such an amazing and gracious Lord to me and loving me and making me your daughter. I know that the only reason I can count myself as your child is because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. I am so unworthy of your love but you love me anyways. How much more should I love others? Lord help me to lean on you and not myself. Help me to depend on you for all things and for my strength. Lord, help me to love every single person I come in contact with, whether I like them or not. Lord, it is not about what I want or think, but rather what you think and Lord I know you think every single person has worth and value and deserves to know your love. Lord, I know your Holy Word shows true, unconditional, perfect love to all of those who read it. But Lord, help me to be the hands and feet of Jesus and help me to SHOW others the love that is portrayed in your Word. Lord the only way I can love those that I have no desire to love is if you place that desire into my heart. I know that you can do the unthinkable and unimaginable so I know that, if it is your will and if it will bring you honor and glory then you will make a way for me to love those who I never thought I could love, let alone like. Lord, help me to start by making a mental note and list of the positive things I see in that individual, and things that I find honorable. Maybe in doing this Lord you can help me to focus on the good and not the negative .Lord help strengthen me where I am weak in this and help me to keep you at the focus and center of it all.
It is in your great, holy, and sovereign name I pray.
1 Peter 4: 8 says, “ Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” I want to remember above all how much the Lord has loved me in all my unholiness and at my worst, so who am I that I think I am above extending the very same grace and love the Lord has done for me? My heart is the biggest problem for me and the way that I love others.
Pray For The Person You Are Struggling To Love/Like
Praying for yourself and the issue at heart is so very vital but I would challenge you, and ME, to not stop there! What else can we do? Pray for the individual you are struggling to love and like. It’s my hope that in praying for this individual, the Lord would open my heart to their needs and issues and that He would soften my heart to them.
I am so thankful for the love you have bestowed upon me even though I am undeserving. Lord help me to extend the grace and love you have given to me unto all the people you place in my path. Lord I pray for those you have placed on my heart and in my life that might be difficult for me, in my flesh, to like and love. Lord, you are the only one who knows their hearts and their struggles in life. Lord, I come to you on their behalf. Might you heal, provide, and work in their lives caring for them in the perfect way that you always do. Lord, I struggle right now praying these things for my brother or sister because of my flesh but I want to overcome the flesh with Your Spirit and I pray that each time I pray for this person the words would come with more ease and Lord I pray that I would do more than pray. Lord, help me to pursue these people and get to know them so that I can pray for them better and know what is really going on in their lives. Lord, help me to see how I can honor you and glorify you in my interactions with these people and help me to be selfless and loving in the way that I live my life.
All for your glory and honor.
As I finish out this post I hope and pray that this spurs you on to love and to prayer for those who are not so easy to love or who clash with you and your personality.
All for HIM and HIS namesake.