By Chris Blevins
Several weeks ago I began an article entitled “Folklore”. The intent is to discuss traditions, practices and sayings that are not located in the Bible but have been passed from generation to generation as Scriptural and treated as such. Personally I have been taught subject matter in this manner by mentors who had the greatest of intentions and in addition I am most certain I have done the same. So I am not casting stones, I am simply looking for Biblical truth.
The first teaching we will tackle is the old saying “I love them but I don’t have to like them”. How many times have we heard this saying or taught this saying to others? The problem with this saying is intrinsic in nature. The very fabric of Christianity is constructed on the foundation of loving God and loving one another as much as we love ourselves. This can be found in Matthew 22:37-40. For instance, what if Christ himself said to you “I love you child, but I do not like you!” We could never imagine a scenario where we would hear these words or read these words directly from Jesus. However, I have used this saying in the past and have heard this saying from many others on numerous occasions.
Usually this saying is born out of not being able to forgive someone. It is much easier to hide behind the above saying than to deal with the healing of a relationship with another person. If offended the book of Matthew, Chapter 18 gives instructions on being reconciled with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Confrontation for most of us is not easy but it is necessary on occasion to heal relationships and for forgiveness to flow. The beauty of forgiveness can be seen as Christ was hanging on a cross and He spoke in Luke 23:34 “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. This dialogue from Christ is an example to us. In this day and age of social media we have lost the art of face to face dialogue, however I am sure most agree this is the most effective form of communication.
What if someone continues to hurt us, what do we do? Jesus said himself in Matthew 18:22 we should forgive our brothers “seventy times seven times”. Jesus is not stating a number, He is emphatically stating that forgiveness is necessary. Christ goes on to say in Matthew 18:35 that if we cannot forgive those who hurt us from our hearts, just as He has forgiven us, then there is a penalty to pay. In addition Luke 6:32 states “ For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.” Matthew 5:46 say “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same.”
In summation, the old sayings like “I love them but don’t have to like them” or “I love them but never want to be around them” is not Biblically sound teaching. Christ would never say He loves us but doesn’t like us or want to be around us. He has a glorious place prepared for us to reside when we leave this world. Let us cease to hide behind Folklore and offer true forgiveness to those who you feel have wronged you. First Peter 4:8 says we should love each other deeply for love covers a multitude of sins. If there is someone in your life that you feel has hurt you and you will not speak to them or see them in a place of business and go down a different aisle you have un-forgiveness in your heart. This is an old saying that I believe rings true: If you cannot get along with them, be around them or forgive them on earth, what will be your excuse in Heaven?” Be blessed and allow forgiveness of others to flow from your heart. I know it is not easy, but the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. ALL means ALL! Even forgiveness.