I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire. (Luke 24:32)
We’ve all made them. We’ve all heard them.
Cringey statements are those things we say that make other people cringe, and they often make US cringe when we think about them later.
Here is a statement I hear Christians say sometimes.
“I love them…but I don’t like them.”
I get the point. You’re talking about a person who says or does things you don’t like, but as a Christian, we’re supposed to love them, so what do we say? “I love them, but I don’t like them.”
But you know what? No one is feeling the love here. “You love me, but you don’t like me?” I’m not feeling it.
“Well Doug, how can I like someone who is so unlikeable?”
Look. As Christians we don’t divide the world into the likeable and the unlikeable. That would be terrible.
God wants us to love people, all people, every single person. We can walk down the street and in our mind say, “I love that guy and that guy and that guy. I love her and her and her…all of them…likeable and unlikeable…agreeable and disagreeable…every single person.”
That is God’s calling and His desire for us…to love one another, to love our neighbor, to even love our enemy.
Love is the natural state for God’s people, but we pile on so much baggage that it almost becomes unrecognizable.
Like when we talk about “liking” someone. This isn’t the first grade playground. “I don’t like Joey because he’s mean.”
As grown up Christians, we’re supposed to love people, even mean people, and God has put inside of us all the love in the universe in the form of His Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love.
So do we just ignore all the mean things people do?
No, but we need to separate their actions from their being. We can dislike, even hate their actions. And yes, there comes a time when we can’t be around someone, when they are so corrupt that they will suck us into their vortex if we get too close.
So we abhor those actions, but the person is someone made in the image of God, whom God loves, whom Jesus died for, and the Holy Spirit inside of us wants to love them through us.
So we stop making the cringey statement, “I love them, but I don’t like them.” No one’s feeling it. If there’s any love there at all, it is nearly unrecognizable.
But here is something we can say instead, and it really is a powerful, biblical, positive and loving statement.
Instead of saying, “I love you, but I don’t like you,” we can say this.
“I love you, and I want God’s best for you.”
May God bless you today.
I’m Doug Apple.