Is liking your neighbour necessary for loving your neighbour?

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Christoffer

Puritan Board Sophomore
Rom13:8-10

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.


From this I infer that loving your neighbour amounts to fulfilling the law towards them.

But do I also have to like my neighbour in order to love him? For example, there will always be people who have irritate us in one way or another or who just are hard to like on a purely emotional plane. At least so for me.

But assume that these feeling do not lead to anything that is forbidden in the law of God. Do these feelings still violate the command to love ones neighbour as oneself?
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
I don't think so. Love is a matter of covenantal commitment. Usually we do like those we love, but I don't think it's an essential component. Liking someone speaks more to commonality, shared interests, similar dispositions, emotions, etc. Loving someone is about raising their interests above your own. I think you will find that when you love people, you will generally grow to like them. This won't always be the case, but it will happen more often than not. Since liking someone is about conformity between their personality and your own, when you practice losing yourself in loving them, the significance of any deficiencies in that conformity diminishes.
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
Short answer: No.

I'm slowly arriving at the idea that Love is often more an action than a feeling. (Although it can be a feeling too)
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
I just came across the book "unChristian" at a friend's house, and it seems that that book would argue that indeed, we DO need to befriend people in our acts of love toward them, or it's not "love".

I think it's hogwash and completely unjustifiable to argue that we have to "like" before we can "love" - but this is what the emergent crowd and others allied with them are telling us.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
The original language of the New Testament used different words with different aspects to translate to our word, "love."

1. Eros, a sexual or romantic love.
2. Phileo, a brotherly love toward someone we really like.
3. Agape, which is the deepest love, which is based on doing good things for another person.


Mark 12:31

31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Interestingly, Scripture use agape as the word for loving our neighbor in this passage.

I take that to mean we "love" them not in the physical, emotional sense, or the sense of those of the household of faith, but in the sense that God loved us enough to die for our sins, a love that overcomes our rejection and contempt of Him, that He would even suffer for that... even die for it.

Many implications here, but hope that helps as you study Scripture, asking for illumination by the Holy Spirit, about this important part of the Christian life.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I'd answer 'no'.

You can pray for your neighbor without liking (or in modern suburbia, even knowing) him. You can perform services, even unknown services, for him. You can show tolerance, even when it isn't warranted.

Isn't there a parable dealing with this?
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
The parable of the good Samaritan was in response to "love your neighbor as yourself" and the question "who is my neighbor".

The Samaritan did not know the individual, but was a neighbor to him (and showed love).
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
The original language of the New Testament used different words with different aspects to translate to our word, "love."

1. Eros, a sexual or romantic love.
2. Phileo, a brotherly love toward someone we really like.
3. Agape, which is the deepest love, which is based on doing good things for another person.

Just to clear up, linguistic analysis has disproved any essential differences between phileo and agape. A lot of the problem has been noting clear semantic domains in Classical Greek and not realizing that by the Koine period the meanings of words had shifted. (Charlie shakes his head at C.S. Lewis)

For example, in the Septuagint rendering of 1 Sam. 13:1&15, Amnon's incestual raping "love" for Tamar is expressed in terms of agape. It is especially interesting that v. 15 says that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the agape with which he agape-d her.

In Luke 11:43, the Pharisees agape the best seats in the synagogue, whereas in Matt 23:6, they phileo them.

In John 5:20, the Father phileo-s the Son, whereas in John 3:35, He agape-s Him.

Then in the famous John 21 "Peter do you love me" passage, Jesus uses agape the first two times. Then the text says, "[Jesus] said to him for a third time" and goes on to use phileo. The point being, if there were a fundamental difference in the meaning of the words, John wouldn't have said "for a third time."

All that to say, our theology of love is going to have to dig deeper than a Greek word study.
 
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Turtle

Puritan Board Freshman
I would guess the things done by our neighbor (or our enemy, or our spouse to include those on both extremes).. I would guess the things they do to cause us to like them or dislike them are not included in the motivation or command to love them.

It seems the adequate motivation to joy in running the impossible race is looking to the author and finisher of our faith who endured the cross with hope. We are asked to "consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest we be wearied and faint" (Heb 12:3). If we have this perception, can we consider it all joy, a refining of our faith?

bryan
tampa, fl
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Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
The scriptures in several places, 1 Peter comes to mind, says that we are to love when it's hard to love, or do good when it's hard to do good. Otherwise, we are no better than the heathen who love lovable people, and do good to good people. We are to love our enemies. We are to go over and above what they would do.

I like Scotts agape distinction. Love is an action. I do wonder about this though. It seems we are to at least look with compassion on them in our hearts though as Jesus did on the crowds. :detective: :think:
 
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