I wanted to clarify a few things from my last post. Here are four things that I do not mean when I say that loving and liking someone is the same thing:
- I don’t mean that you have to be buddy-buddy with every person. There is a way to be gentle, respectful, kind, truthful, and interested in their well-being without being a “friend.”
- I don’t mean that you have to be “nice” at the expense of truth. For more on this, read this post.
- I don’t mean that you have to agree with — or even be tolerant of — every opinion out there.
- I don’t mean that you have eliminate emotions and never get frustrated, angry, sad, etc.
As Christians, we are called to genuinely love every person since they are made in God’s image. Romans 12:9, 10 says, “Let love be genuine…Outdo one another in showing honor.” If you do not genuinely like someone, I’m willing to bet you won’t try very hard to love them, and you won’t go out of your way to show them honor. Paul commands us in Galatians 6:10 to do good to everyone. Doing good comes from a heart-level desire for the benefit of another’s well-being. If you do not like someone, you will not be concerned for their well-being.
By God’s grace, let us pursue the great exhortation of Paul to the young Timothy: “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5).