I had an interesting conversation with someone the other day, a retired minister who I hadn't seen in some time. We were talking about how fun it was for him to be retired and be able to visit different churches and decide where to go.
Because when you're the pastor you kind of have to go to the church where you work. It's just a thing that happens.
I told him that I envied him. I love our church where we've been for the past seven years, and I don't see us leaving anytime soon, but there were churches in the past that I didn't like.
I mentioned this to him and he said, "But we need to love the body, these are the people we will be in heaven with."
I agreed that we do need to love them. And I did love them, but no where in the Bible does it say that we need to like them.
For a while when we pastored at these other churches I would occasionally have people ask me if I knew of a good church in the area and I sent them elsewhere. I did not send them to the one where we were employed.
There is a big difference between love and like.
I could love the people and take care of them but there were some that I didn't like. And there's nothing wrong with that.
I love my own body. I do my best to take care of it, but there are parts of it that I don't like. I have bowed legs, I have a bent toe, there is some cellulite (I really don't like that), a scar on my forehead, bump on my nose, and other things that I don't like. Does it make me care for my body any less? No.
Will you like every person you come across? No.
Will you like every Christian you come across? No.
Personalities are too different.
Backgrounds are too different.
Sometimes these people hurt you. Sometimes they mistreat you. Sometimes they break your trust. Do you have to like them? Absolutely not, but you do have to love them.
Loving them means praying for them. Caring about them. Not wanting any harm to come to them.
Sometimes the only thing we have in common is Christ and that's okay.