To Love is To Like
Updated: Jan 18, 2020
Have you ever heard the teaching, 'We do not have to like everyone, but we do have to love them?'
The idea is that because God commands us to love others we are required to do so even when we may not like them. This seems a reasonable teaching, but it defies the truth. In fact it is impossible to love someone by command. And without liking someone love is cold, it is not real; it is contrived.
The word the Bible uses for 'the love of God' is the Greek word 'agape'. If you look that word up it means (at its root) 'to feel affection' toward someone. If you look up the English word 'like', it means to 'have affection towards someone'. The words are virtually synonymous. So the idea that loving someone without liking them is utterly preposterous!
God loves humanity because he feels great affection towards us. In fact, he sees something in us that so 'affects' Him that it causes love to well up in him and emanates from Him towards us. And He has felt this way towards us since the creation of the world. God does not love because He was commanded to, he loves because His heart is so predisposed as to love, and this love is not without reason. In fact He actually 'likes' you.
He both likes and understands us. He looked upon us at the cross and said, Father forgive these guys, they really don't really even know what they are doing. He liked us and forgave us before he had even died for us. But it was by His death that He signed His covenant of love with us in his own blood! By which says 'I have always liked these guys, I have and felt affected by these guys and I always will'.
We all failed the command to love. You need to give that one up! Now we are told to abide in His love and affection towards us. And in that rest, we love. As we are so affected by Him and His love for us, we find ourselves loving Him in an effortless fashion.
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and gave Himself for our sins" (1 John 4:10)