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  • Writer's pictureJacob Skorka

You Don't Even Have to Like Me

Here, have a beer, and let's talk about love.


I'm going to say something that not many people will say. *GASP* not me saying something that other people are scared to say. This time it seems different, though. I'm not convinced that many people even think about it which makes it seems even brasher.


Here is it, ready?

I don't have to like you to love you!


I could leave it here and let it sit in your thoughts giving you enough space to make your justification for it, but I care too much about my own opinions to let you dominate this.


The way I see it, liking people is a social construct that we've created to make friends and enhance social circles. Loving people is a straight-up Jesus command that is ferociously against your personal feelings.


We want to be friends with people that we like, and that like us. That's obvious and very natural human behavior. What has been increasingly misconstrued over time is that these two expressions are not synonymous.


Humans, being the bozos that we are, have created this sort of ladder to love and inserted liking as the most pivotal rung in our quest to be loved. Liking someone, or being liked, has become the step that others must be standing on to get behind our walls. To gain my trust you have to complete this set of tasks, accumulate ___ number of checkmarks on my checklist, or acceptably fit into the space in my life that I need you to fit into. After you do that, I will like you, and you're one step closer to me loving you. Only the first half of that should be true.


Need more? Think about romantic relationships.

You have a crush.

You start talking to that crush.

You start dating that crush.

You start liking that crush.

That crush starts liking you.

THEN you love that crush, and that crush loves you.


Now, the point of this conversation is not romantic love. You hear me this, there is a distinct difference between romantic love and the love that I'm talking about. The image is the same if you move to a new city and need friends, if you graduate college and don't have a built-in community, or if you leave the neighborhood that you've lived in forever. The process is the same: interest leads to action, action leads to intentionality, intentionality leads to consistency, consistency leads to comfortability, comfortability means that you've made it.


We've put criteria on being loved. I used one example of this criteria 3 paragraphs above. Getting behind someone's walls is the space where you will be loved. Being behind walls is being loved. Wrong. You can love somebody without making them a part of your story, similar to how you can love someone and not like them.


Jesus gives two commands in the New Testament; both are grounded in love. Paraphrasing, we are to love God and love others. Both are very hard things to do as a bozo and neither require the prerequisite of liking God or others.


It is counter-cultural. That is the point.


Jesus says if I do someone wrong then it is up to me to make it better. Jesus also says that when someone does me wrong then it is up to me to make it better. I don't know about you, but I can't execute either of those scenarios if I don't like someone. Here is the truth: Jesus doesn't care about me liking someone or not, but his heart breaks when I can't love one of His.


This is the distinction between romantic love and the love that I'm talking about. The love that I'm talking about puts the human first and removes criteria. If I want to like you then I want you to agree with me on this, disagree with me on that, completely disregard those things over there, and live the way that I live. Because I love you, you can agree with me or not, disagree with me or not, bring up whatever the hell you want to bring up, and live how you're living. At least, that's my hope.


It's a hard thing to do, folks. Love takes effort and it's tough to exert effort on things that we don't like. Remember this, humans aren't things.


Cheers!

 

If you're looking for the non-paraphrased commandments then flip to any of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and you can read about the 2 commandments in full.


If you're too lazy to look, or don't have a bible, here are some links:



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