Liking the Unlikable

God sends all kinds of people into our path of life: family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and many more.

Sometimes these people in our life are super lovable, super fun, just plain super to be around. But let’s be honest, some people are not very easy to like.  How do we like the unlikable? We are going to figure out today how to love the unlikable.

It is really easy for us to say, “What would Jesus do?”  But if we don’t know what Jesus did then how do we answer that question.

When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, He was giving instruction on how to live. He was blowing the minds of the people that were listening, especially the people that lived strictly by the law. For the whole sermon go to Matthew 5-7.

What did Jesus say about people we don’t “like”? The “I” in this verse is Jesus talking.

"You have heard the law that says, 'Love the neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 
Matthew 5:43-44

Wow. That is totally counter culture, even today. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

I have to say that I am guilty. Do I pray for the people that persecute me or even the people that irritate me? Honestly, I think that we hope the other person will change. We think there is clearly something wrong with them if we don’t like them.


I have to be honest here. I have prayed for people to change and for other people to see their own flaws. For them to be nicer or easier to get along with. But pray for them in the sense that Jesus is telling us to pray?

Maybe we have not prayed for them to change. Maybe we have completely omitted prayer and we are just mean to someone or equally irritating.  

God has a purpose for us. It is for us to change. It is for us to have a transformed life. It is for us to be more like Him. This is why He instructs us to pray for others.

What happens when our prayer for our family member, co-worker, or neighbor is for us to love them more? What happens when we pray for God to change our hearts to show His love and not our own? What happens when we pray for God to let us see people with His eyes and not ours?

We begin to love them like He loves them. We begin to see the beautiful creation that He has given us. We begin to praise Him for the people that He has put in our path.

You may be saying, “You don’t know what that person did to me.” You may be thinking, “You don’t know how bad this person is.”

You are right. Trust me; I have to rely on God to change my heart. I have to use the power of the Holy Spirit that resides in me to change me to see people the way He sees them.

If you still think this is impossible, let us look at this story.

You may be familiar with this story. It is about a man who was taken in the middle of the night. Guards came in the night like a thief and took Him away. One of His closest friends betrayed Him with a kiss to the cheek and sold Him out for thirty silver coins.

Not guilty was the verdict by the local government. The local people, however, hated Him. He was spit upon and stripped of His clothes. They beat Him within an inch of His life to the point He was barely recognizable. People surrounded Him shouting, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.”  

After all of that, He was forced to walk through town carrying the cross that would be used to hang Him to death. He had nails put through His hands and feet to keep Him in place. He had a crown of thorns crushed onto His head.

And don’t miss this part. As He hung on the cross for all to see, do you know what He did?

He prayed.

He prayed for you and me.

He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”

He prayed. To His Father, he prayed for them. He prayed for us.

How could Christ be in the position of death, death of the most humiliating kind and pray for me? Pray for you?

So if you are asking yourselves right now, “How can I pray for them?”

Because He did it for you. Because His love for us came first. He will give us love for them but we need to take the step and ask for His help. We have to pray to look beyond what the eyes see, what our feelings say, and look to Christ to do what He does best. To Love!


Here is where you begin to transform. Take five seconds. If it takes that long. Think of one person that just gets to you. One person that makes you grit your teeth when you think of them. Pray for them. Pray for God to give you a new outlook on them. Pray for their family. Pray for their job. Pray for the stresses in their life. Maybe it is just simply saying their name and laying them before God. 

Do this all week. Come back next week and tell me how it went. Good, bad, or everything in between. Let us know. Encourage us with your comments below and Share so others can be encouraged.

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22 comments :

  1. Amen. An event or action of a person is actually neutral nits our RESPONSE to the event or their action that either gives us -or them! - power

    I pray the power of prayer. First for me. To forgive as He forgave us. There's our power - Jesus!

    Thank you for joining the DanceWithJesus linkup Jaime. Hugs. Susan

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  2. Thank you Susan for stopping by from your DanceWithJesus linkup. What great thoughts. Forgiving because He forgave us is Christ's message on forgiveness. We often times think the other person does not deserve forgiveness but neither did we. He gave it to us while we were still sinners. Many blessings friend.

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  3. Amazing post, Jaime! I have found that the people we consider to be "unlikeable" are often the very ones that carry deepest hurts and their outward attitude is usually a reflection of their inner pain. Though that may not be true for everyone, it helps me to listen more, forgive easier and love deeper. Thanks for much for sharing such an awesome word! GOD bless you, beautiful friend! :-)

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  4. Great thought Tai. Being in a fallen, broken world we all experience pain on different levels. We don't know the hearts of others. Only God can see that. We would be wise to remember that we all share that in common.

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  5. Your post was used by God to convict me regarding how I was praying for a certain person and focusing my prayer on them changing!

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    1. Elizabeth, I have been in your boat many times but I have realized that the situation is not going to change until I pray for change in me. God is happy to change us to be more like Him. It often helps when we cooperate with Him. Thank you for sharing your honesty with us here.

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  6. I've learned from experience that everything is not what it seems, Jaime and we must be open to new ways of finding God in people and situations that we may not be comfortable with.

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    1. God is a willing participant in changing us. We have to be the same. We can learn though His Word or He can find other ways of teaching us. Thank you for sharing with us about opening our eyes to seeing God in different places than we would expect.

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  7. Jesus suffered and died with us on His mind. Our church is an open door for street people. They come in early for free donuts and coffee (I have been baking quick bread to add with the coffee) and they sit in the fellowship area during church waiting for the free lunch after church. Some have come in to the sanctuary for the service and gave their heart to Jesus. Some have no or few teeth, but they are for the most part clean and orderly and their smiles are big. I don't know of any enemies that I might have, but God knows. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your story with us today Hazel. It sounds like your church is doing an amazing of loving people. Christ didn't come and die for the likable, if that were the case we would all be out. Through His mercy He came for us. He is amazing.

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  9. Great encouragement, Jaime. God has shown me that although He doesn't expect me to have close relationships with the difficult people in my life, He does expect me to stand firm in my faith and model His love, which usually translates into extending kindness even when I don't want to. Which isn't always easy, but is for His glory rather than my comfort. Blessed to be your upstairs neighbor at #testimonytuesday.

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    1. I agree with you Tiffany, there are people that are detrimental to our emotional and physical well being. We don't have to surround ourselves with people like that. But from a distance we can ask for our hearts to still show God's love.

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  10. Well said, Jaime! It is so hard to like, let alone forgive and love some people because of their actions or things they have done. Thank you for sharing this encouragement with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week :)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Kelly and encouraging us. Love linking up and being a Social Butterfly.

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  11. Such a great topic! I struggle with this at times. Sometimes all I come up with is "Lord, Thy will be done in this person's life." Sometimes I pray for justice in a situation where they were unjust…I'll admit. But I do try to pray for my enemies. You are so right…praying for them is about changing US, not just them. Great point! Blessings from #EspressosofFaith via #RaRaLinkup!

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    1. Bonnie I have found that those times I just can't get over how someone has treated me or a person that I love. The battle belongs to the Lord. There are some situations I am totally powerless, but God Almighty can take His hand and soften my heart.

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  12. One great thing about praying for someone is it is super hard to be angry at him/her while you are praying! Thanks for stopping by Literacy Musing Mondays.

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    1. Isn't that funny. We want to be so mad at someone and often times they may not even know it or care. Then we start to surrender that situation to God and he begins to turn our hearts and mind to the things above.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Victor. Have a wonderful week.

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  14. Jaime,

    I really need to hear this last week. For a couple of weeks, I had been confronted with a difficult person. I was so upset with myself for allowing this person to get to me. After reading this, I prayed for this person. It was exactly what I needed. I was able to a step back and realize it was more about who this person reminded me of. Since reading this, praying for the person, and understanding the root of the animosity. Thank you. The power of pray for others is such a blessing. Wow! Praying for the unlikable not only blesses them but us as well. It was an awesome feeling to give this over to God and knowing that all things work together for good.

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    1. Margie Thank you so much for your honesty. It always helps us along when we realize we are not alone. We are in this journey together. Knowing other people share our struggles and we are united by a God who can make a path for us, makes life more real.

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Seek Him First! Today's Bible Reading

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

It is of utmost importance that you know that Christ died for you. He died for all sinners so that our relationship with Him could be restored.

Because of His sacrifice on the cross we can have peace. Are you seeking more peace today? Peace of the soul can only be given through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

I hope that you, too, know the saving grace of an amazing God.
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2 Timothy 1:7

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