Impossible task to love my neighbor

Think of a person you dislike or love to hate… either in your workplace, office, your ex-, family member, or whomever or wherever.  Maybe they’ve done something against you and you just hate them for it, or you can’t get along due to unresolvable personality conflicts.  Whatever it may be causing you to dislike or hate each other so much that you cannot say to him/her face, “My dear friend, how are you really doing today?  I really do care and would like to hear how you are doing?”

We may try to pretend to like them, but deep inside, you know you can’t.  As good Christ-followers with honest-to-God intentions, we end up feeling like failures because we cannot pull ourselves together to love them.  Yes, even the best of us Christ-followers may try to love but when it comes down to it, we eventually fail when we are face-to-face with our arch-enemy.   I’m sure all of us reading this blog-post might honestly admit that when faced with our enemy, we will find it impossible to love our enemy.

This is why some people would prefer to walk across the street just to avoid them, or to hide somewhere where we will never see our nemesis. Out-of-sight…out-of-mind, right?  After realizing how truly difficult it is to swallow the pill of being unable to love those who are unlikable, we might admit and confess to the Lord God that “I have failed to love my neighbor as I would like others to love me.”

1 John 4 is John’s love chapter.  First John 4:7-9 says:

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” 

When I look at Christ’s command to love, I am confronted with my own weakness and failure.  I might think to myself, either, I am not Christlike enough, or have failed to obey his command to love.  Shall I be fatalistic and say that: I can never totally love like only Christ can love?  Or shall I fall down before God and confess that this is truly an impossible task to love my neighbor? And that I don’t know God as I ought to know him.

Today, I can honestly answer: “Yes, yes, and yes,” to all the above, and I freely confess: “I have not loved you with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbors as myself. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent…”
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Author: K.A. Sam

Kevin is a follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include coffee, biking, blogging theologizing, practical ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

2 thoughts on “Impossible task to love my neighbor”

  1. It might be helpful to compare the difference between loving a neighbor [person] as God commanded and still not ‘liking’ the person. Many people are unlikable, what can we do to get under their skin and get a glimpse of what is the trouble so we can truly love them as Christ does? Love in our culture is very loosely used. What kind of love is being talked about? What is the essence of the original word used? I really believe we are not commanded to like everyone, but then we need to know the essence of this kind of love.
    We all fail to follow the command because our first instinct is to get on the bandwagon and diss the person-it makes us feel good about ourselves. Maybe the love God is talking about is to put ourselves under truth so we can see the other person in a truer light.
    BTW, I am not exactly asking you to answer these questions. Just putting them forward for thought.

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    1. Donna, thanks for your thought on this. I was going to add another post after this to explain it further. Yes, you are totally right about the original word, that is, agape (God’s love). This makes it possible to love our enemies even when we might dislike the other person. It reveals the truth you are getting at I think.

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