Have you ever been in a room full of people, maybe at school or work, and there is this one particular person who drives you crazy? Maybe it is someone who you call a friend or a family member and you don’t particular like who they are because of their crude remarks, loud voice or annoying laugh. Maybe they are the type of person who wants to stand close to you when you talk, very close and their smell of the breath curls your eyebrows. Seriously, what are unlikable traits? Self-righteous, immaturity, wealth, poverty, pride, impatience, habitual tardiness, bad breath, poor fashion taste, griping, disagreeableness, negative attitude, carelessness, messy habits, laziness, procrastination, lack of reliability, critical spirit, talkative nature, quiet nature, unfriendliness, cruelty, gossip, dishonest, hypocrisy, funny looks, mannerisms or voice and the list goes on. Now consider this, Jesus commanded us to love them! Have you ever loved someone unlikable? Love is not always a feeling or an emotion and Jesus didn’t say have an emotion toward this type of person who portrays these traits. He wants us to love no matter how people act or what they do. Love is doing what is best for the other regardless of how you feel about them. This is the only way to love especially when it comes to love your enemy. You may not have good feelings for them but you can treat them in such a way to help them grow toward Christ. If another Christian seems very obnoxious, revolting, annoying critical or irritating to you, remember this is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your love and maturity in Christ. It is called loving the unlikable. They might not know that they are portraying characteristics that really get under your skin or clash with your personality. People who really annoy you can even be a Christian, however it doesn’t give us the right to show harsh attitudes back to them. Find the good in them and praise them for it. “Love is kind.” Kindness equates to many actions; such as our tone of speech. Does it come across as kind or harsh? Kindness encourages, rather than discourages. Look for Christ like strengths you can encourage them to enhance. You must learn to bless them. Kindness also finds good in everyone, then points out the good to both that person and others. Kindness praises the kind acts and successes of others. There will be times you may be forced to work with them or be around them for long periods of time and this kind of test will prove just how much Christ like love you do have for others. You must learn to work with those who drive you insane which may be only for a season. If you continue to show and perform the love of Christ just by rubbing shoulders with the unlikable it might just rub off on them and you will see a change or their unlikable traits might just rub off on you if you are not careful in having patience portraying a loving attitude. It is quick to look at others and their annoying habits, but what we must all realize we all have those little hang-ups that annoy other people too. You can strap up your boots, grit your teeth and try to limit your exposure to the annoying person or learn to love as Jesus.
One thing that I have learned in Leadership training, the greatest thing that annoys you the most in people is a characteristic trait in which you yourself have and are unaware of, and yes you do portray it to others whether you realize it or not. I think we are subconsciously picking things out in other people that we hate most about ourselves.
The answer to all of this is called loving the unlikable. Sometimes the unlikable might just be in yourself. It is always a good eye opener and an honest evaluation when we turn to the word and desire to change.
Luke 10:27 And he, answering, said, Have love for the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and for your neighbour as for yourself.