Never have two words been so different to be used so interchangeably. The word like means agreeable, to prefer; while love means to fulfill the law. Now this isn’t my definition, this is God’s definition. Romans 13:10, Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. So it is possible to like a person and not love them. Let me give you an example. Let’s say we have a student in our school ministry. This student and I like each other. He likes sports, I like sports. He likes Hershey’s bars with almonds, I like Hershey’s bars with almonds. He likes to garden, I like to garden. We are in agreement – we like each other. Now, the student I like breaks the rules. Because I like them and they like me, I let their misconduct go, even though the rules (law) say they must be disciplined. Now, while I like them, I do not love them because law requires righteous action (discipline). So often I hear people say that one adult loves the kids because they allowed misconduct to occur without disciplining the child, and another adult doesn’t love them because they carry out the rules (law). But in reality just the opposite is true. The adult who did not discipline may like the child but their refusal to require righteousness also shows their lack of love.
If you will remember, we are told in Hebrews 12:6, 9, For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? Proverbs 3:12, For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Real love doesn’t allow those under their authority to do evil, to be wrong without tender-heartedly correcting the evil and the wrong – that’s real love.
So don’t be confused. We are not commanded to like each other, but we are commanded to love one another; and this requires doing right at all times. Now, go out and like the kids, but don’t forget to love them as well.
Thought: I am not commanded to like you, but I am commanded to love you!!
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