Not every personality in a congregation, home, school classroom, or in the work environment will be a perfect fit with another. There are times when personalities just don’t mesh. This is not a problem, but it can be a problem when two personalities not compatible with one another (from the perspective of one) is encouraged to think the best approach is to avoid the other without resolving the issue at hand.
Sometimes it goes like this: two people are together, but one of the two is not comfortable around the other. This dis-comfort does not have to have to be associated with anything sinful, it just may be the difference between personalities. The one who is not comfortable with the other then makes it a problem with the declarative expression, “I don’t like him!”
Wow! Is this because the “one not liked” teaches, preaches, talks, acts, and/or carries himself in some way the other does not like? Evidently. The “one not liked” has no clue, no understanding of what and why a wall of separation exists, put in place by the “one who does not like.” To avoid discomfort, the “one who does not like” finds reasons to, first, not resolve the matter (but maintains the wall of separation) and, second, in spite of denials, not carry oneself as a Christian and worship with the saints.
If one is a Christian, that is, if a follower of Christ, the virtues of character, honesty, generosity will surface to the top of awkward relationships and address the matter that has put a wall between the two by the “one who does not like.” What did the “one not liked” do to earn this response of the separating wall? The “one not liked” is then left on his own to figure out why he is not liked, only to learn no specifics are offered. When the “one not liked” seeks to resolve the issue with the “one who does not like,” the “one who does not like” modifies the declarative expression or just lies to protect herself.
“Is there a problem here?” you ask. This is a problem here and everywhere where saints gather. It’s a problem because of spiritual and moral weakness. The problem exists because at least one person does not want to do as the Lord expressly said:
All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it (Matthew 7:12-14, ASV).
Pay attention to this exhortation, for one must have 1) a charitable spirit of doing to others as you want others to treat you, and if one desires 2) to enter the narrow gate one must do this, for 3) if the Lord’s approval is worth having, then walking the narrow path toward the narrow gate means one does that which is right because it is right; the Lord will accept nothing less. To do less than this is to put a wall of separation between two people; the “one who does not like” is the one putting the wall of separation up between two people called Christians, for at least one is not thinking, speaking and acting like a follower of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility (Eph. 2:14-16, ESV).
Paul’s point was in relation to the separation between Jew and Gentiles, but the point he made there has a principled application to all who put a wall of separation up between self and others. Jesus came to bring people together under His banner, under His way of thinking, for when we are left to ourselves walls of separation arise.
So, because I don’t like her, I will not be around much. The one who thinks this way can’t apply the words of the Holy Spirit, as Paul wrote one is to do: “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:9-10, ESV). RT