Imagine a gauge that measures your food preferences. At the bottom of it is “Can’t stand it!” This is where the foods live that you just can’t choke down. For me that is sour kraut, definitely vegemite and its brother marmite (although classifying them as food is questionable), and brussel sprouts (Bleck! I want to throw up a little just thinking about them). Just above that category is “Can barely stand it.” This is the stuff you could choke down if you absolutely had to. Your great auntie’s green bean casserole is a good example (you don’t want to hurt her feelings). Above that is “Don’t like it” category, where you can eat it but you don’t like it (asparagus is just so good for you). Above that “Don’t care” (water) then “Like it” (pizza) then “Really like it” (steak) and of course “Really really like it” (Dr. Pepper) then the ultimate buttermilk pie region of “Superlike”! In our culture, however, we often say “Love” for this one don’t we? For example:
“I love chocolate cake!”, or applying it to other things “I love your hair that way!”, “I love hot coffee on a cold day.”
The problem occurs when we try to apply this ‘superlike’ definition of love to people. We know that we can love someone and not like them very much at any given point in time. No one understands this better than those of us with siblings. Some of us growing up didn’t like our brothers and sisters very much most of the time but we always definitely loved them.
Also this definition doesn’t work in a biblical sense. When Jesus tells us to love our enemies he doesn’t mean we should ‘superlike’ them. We cannot force ourselves to instantly like something or someone. The best we can do on that is to pretend and thats just being fake. We cannot control who we like and dont like. Nor is it comprehensible that God ‘superliked’ us while we were evil sinners and were living in complete rebellion. No, the bible is talking about something very different than mere preference. It is telling us about something much more powerful. We are expected to love even when we don’t like (Mt5:46). Let’s define biblical love as that which demonstrates selfless goodwill toward another. In God’s case we see this when He so loved us that he made a way for us to be reconciled to him (john3:16). We should love others by teaching them about what God has done (luke 6:27). Giving others food when they are hungry, or forgiveness when they wrong us does not require us to actually like the recipents. Yet this is what the bible calls love (mt25:35). These simple acts of love are exactly what is expected of us toward our fellow man. (Don’t forget to superlike this on Facebook!) lol!
“Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there. You understand?” -Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird