Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Am Required to Love You, I Don’t Have to Like You

A friend of mine, Kevin T made a post titled I Don’t Have To Like You in which he shows the ridiculous PC requirements of individuals to like other people based on demographics.  This post had stayed on the edge of my mind since he wrote it and like a gentle nagger, the conversation I had had in prayer came to mind and is itching to get out of me.

Ten years ago, being a new Christian, I had had a serious issue with some people I could not stand.  I mean I hated these people.  They were egocentric, arrogant, hateful, greedy and all manner of negative attributes.  I was angry because I could not reconcile the ‘acting like a Christian’ and putting away from me those things that would lead me to a more sinful life (To me hating one and wasting my time thinking on that, was a sin).  So what is ‘acting like a Christian’?  It is those who follow the commands that Jesus gave in the Bible and act like they are following that, right? 

It is in prayer and meditation that I got to converse with God about this topic.  I was dwelling on a particular individual who is the antithesis of a Christian, and I wanted to know how was I to deal with this individual.  It is then that That Voice speaks and cannot be denied:  “I said for you to LOVE one another, I didn’t say you had to LIKE one another! LOVE one another”. 

I customarily check the scriptures to ensure revelations or epiphanies do not countermand the Bible, then I go along with it.  So to the Bible I went.  Now this is not a discussion about war and how to deal with pedophiles, and it is not about corporal punishment and justice, I am talking about the individual dealing with individuals.  So it is the following verses that helps me deal with certain scenarios:

  • If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.  —Proverbs 25:21-22  
  • “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

  • If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.  —Proverbs 25:21-22  
  • “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
  • “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.  —Luke 6:27-35  
  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”—John 13:34-35


Well that part about loving one another is clear enough.  No where does the scriptures command that we like one another.  Nowhere does it say we must ‘be nice’.  Fact is the contrary is true.

  •  Proverbs 29:5  A man who flatters his neighbor  Is spreading a net for his steps.

Jesus never said to be nice.  He said to Love.  So how do you love?  If your co-worker has rivulets of mascara on her face, do you tell her?  Yeah I know she is a horrid woman to work with, but do you tell her?  I would, even though I can’t stand her voice or the fact that she exists, I would still tell her.  Not only will that help her avoid looking like a fool, but one also must understand spiritual principles, in that that woman may very well be on her way to an interview for a job that will take her from your office.  So that example illustrates an immediate example of why one should love one another. 

There are quite a few people with whom I have had repeated contacts, that I couldn’t stand, but I have loved them.  Yes there is a dissonance in the act, at first blush, but in the long run it has paid off.  For those people, will one day testify to your beneficence.  This should not be construed to make this your motive in loving one another.  For if the motive is that you wish to obey the command, you will find these benefits occurring spontaneously.

One of my other examples is the time I saw a couple walking down a state highway on a very hot day, apparently the older car I had passed had a flat.  Hundreds of cars had passed them by, (In a southern state and this was a biracial couple) I pulled over even though I was on my way to a brunch with a ranking socialite.  I gave the couple a ride to call for help with their car.  I waited for them to see if everything was ok.  It wasn’t.  I had some tools in my car and offered to do what I could to help.   So we drove back up to their car and I found that the flat and all the tires had metal threads exposed.  This was too dangerous for anyone to drive on so I got the flat one off their car and drove up to the tire place that was open on a Sunday.  We got there and I asked the manager if he had good used tire that he would put on the rim.  He hemmed and hawed and I explained the situation and told him I hadn’t much money but wanted to help the couple, he relented and sold it.  The used tires in question had more than 50% of the original tread!  While the couple was out of earshot, I explained to that manager how the other tires on the car were all thread bare too and if I could get them back up there would he ensure the other tires were replaced.  I explained that I didn’t have money for all new tires but the spares I could afford.  I went on and explained how no one was helping them and that hundreds of cars were just going by ‘not seeing’ them.  He agreed to replace them with the used ones remaining.  So for $80.00 I was able to have all four of the tires replaced.  I took the one tire we had done, and we three went to their car and I got the tire on and I made them promise me they would go back to that shop to ensure I had it tightened to the proper specs.  They assured me they would go back there.  See, they didn’t know that I had them hooked up for the other 3 tires.  I confirmed with the manager a few hours later that they had indeed gone back and gotten the other 3 done.  I don’t know their names and they don’t know mine.  But this is part of knowing how to love one another. 

Now this telling of this is not to claim virtues, but to illustrate examples.  When He said Love one another He meant exactly that.  These acts of love should never be misconstrued with acts of like.  If I liked you only I would have just told you “Hey, you look nice today.”, when the truth is your butt crack showing is disdainful and your mascara is running down your face.

There is one outcome that still gets me; it surprises me on every recollection of it today as it did on the first hearing of it.  There is one girl that I utterly could not stand.  She didn’t take care of her kids, she was slovenly, she abraded every freaking nerve I had!  She oooohh I couldn’t stand her!  It took a lot for me to not just collect laughter from others in talking nasty about her, but I didn’t.  I was not the only one who felt that way about her, she had been quite unlovable back then.  But I loved her children, who only craved proper discipline.  I showed her how to never spank her kids for coming to her.  I kept personal feelings out of my words when she needed correction on anything.  I fed her, I helped her when she needed it.  After time and distance, my best friend told me that she and the woman referred to, were all socializing one day, talking about me, and that woman said, “She loves me!” she continued, “She always loves me, no matter what, that woman loves me!”  I could never have been more surprised than that day.  It was then that I hear that Voice return, saying, “This is what I am talking about.”

So just because I don’t like you, does not mean I don’t love you.  Just because you think you may be unlovable, does not mean you are unloved.  Sometimes we make ourselves unlovable, that makes the command harder to follow.  When I tell you the truth, especially one you definitely need to know, I am not liking you, I am loving you.  If it hurts your feelings, too bad, I am loving you, and that truth may save your life or sanity.  It is a great relief to differentiate like from love.  It is easier now.

2 comments:

  1. If I wanted to contact a certain Luckee1 who might be somewhere in east Tennessee, how would I go about doing that? It seems that her old comcast address doesn't work anymore.

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  2. "If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save lives"!
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