One topic we women often neglect in our spheres of confluence is "Love versus Like". It's a taboo we weren't taught about in Sunday school when being told to "Love your neighbors as yourself." They made it sound so simple. What they sometimes fail to add is that "Love" isn't necessarily synonymous with "Like". As hard as we try and as much as we want to, sometimes there are people we may not like. And vice versa, there are some who won't like us. For a long time I was under the impression that since I needed to "Love my neighbors", I also needed to like everyone and everyone needed to like me. Because, well, if we're Christians, then that's just what we're supposed to do, right?
Wrong. So wrong.
I set myself up to fail with that one...I set myself up to be a people pleaser and to feel guilty or mad when someone disliked me. I set myself up to think I wasn't honoring God if I wasn't friends with everyone. And I set myself up to think that if someone didn't like me, then they weren't "good Christians". But we have to be realistic about community. Sometimes, two people just. don't. click. Maybe it's so-and-so's sense of humor or bluntness. Maybe it's their opinions or that they offer advice we didn't ask for.We all have people we don't like. But I gotta say, I don't think when God said "Love your neighbors" that He meant everyone had to be close friends. Of course, I'm not saying we're free to be gossipy or catty to one another. Romans 13:10 says, "Love does no wrong to others." I am saying we can love others without forcing friendships. Loving one another, being kind to one another, helping in times of need...those can all be done without 'liking'. And there's no reason any follower of Christ should feel guilt or shame for not liking everybody.
I'm sure it's safe to assume that I'm not the only person who's forced a friendship in order to "be a good Christian" . Those forced friendships can lead to pretty complicated relationships. Proverbs 14:16 says, "The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence." The 'danger' that can arise here is creating opportunities to offend one another. If you know her sense of humor ticks you off, don't force a friendship and then ask her to change her sense of humor for you. If you know your bluntness annoys her, don't make her feel guilty for not wanting to hang out all the time.
We need to honor each other realistically. This quote says it perfectly: "Learn to be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not." If you and Jane Doe don't really get along, then you can love each other from a healthy distance. Don't do what I did and feel guilty if you don't want to be friends with someone. And don't get offended if you're not Jane's cup of tea either. Just give yourselves room to be human.