“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.” Matthew 5:43-45
So, is it possible to love someone, but not like them?
Betty and I have known people whose children have strayed way off the path upon which they were raised. Their current actions are harmful to themselves and to others. They speak harsh words about and to their parents. In all honesty, they’re not likeable at all.
Yet, these same parents still love their children even if they don’t like them. The Bible calls this agape love, a sacrificial love. It’s a sacrifice to love someone who doesn’t love you and wishes nothing good for you.
Jesus knew this when he commanded us to love our enemies. Our enemies don’t like us and wish us harm. They’re not likeable. Yet, somehow we’re still to love them.
This kind of sacrificial love, whether for our enemies or for our wayward child, can come only as a grace, an undeserved gift from God.