That is a very good question. Yes, it is possible to “love a person and not like them.” As we shall see, the word “love” in Scripture has different definitions and it is indeed possible to “love someone” and at the same time “not like them.” There are two main types of LOVE in the Bible which we will consider, AGAPE and PHILEO.

1) AGAPE LOVE is the highest form of love, for it is “love that God has for everyone.” The most well-known verse in the Bible uses this word: “For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” This type of love is UNCONDITIONAL and SACRIFICIAL. It does not depend on the actions or feelings of the one who is loved. We see this in 1st John 4:10, “In this is LOVE, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins.” The fact is when God demonstrated His love towards us, we were “SINNERS” and “His ENEMIES.” Romans 5:8 & 10 declare, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while were STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us…For if when WE WERE ENEMIES we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” It could hardly be said that “God LIKED us” at that time, but He did “LOVE us.” How can that be? Ah, because God’s very nature is AGAPE LOVE, as we see in 1st John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us LOVE ONE ANOTHER, for LOVE IS OF GOD; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for GOD IS LOVE.” This passage not only teaches us that “God is LOVE,” but it teaches us that when one is born of God they partake of His nature and are able then to LOVE AS HE LOVES. The born-again believer can LOVE ALL MEN! Though we might not “like someone,” we can still “love them” with an “unconditional and sacrificial love.” Before we go on it must be emphasized that Agape love is not based on FEELINGS but on the WILL. I’m quite sure God didn’t FEEL GOOD about us when He sent His Son to die for us, but because His very nature is love, He made a deliberate CHOICE to demonstrate His love for us by sending His only Son to the cross to take our place in death and judgment.

2) PHILEO LOVE is the “love of friendship and brother love.” It really does have the idea of “a strong LIKING for someone.” In contrast to Agape Love, which is “unconditional and sacrificial,” Phileo Love is based on FEELINGS for someone who you are emotionally attached to because of their feelings for you. They show their affections for you in various ways and a bond is formed. Perhaps there are many “mutual interests” as well and all of these things cause you to have a deep FRIENDSHIP with one another. After a person is saved Jesus, who LOVED him (or her) with an Agape (unconditional) Love “before he was saved,” can now call him a friend if he is willing to obey Him. Jesus said to His disciples, “You are My FRIENDS if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14).

So, we have seen that you can love someone with an “unconditional and sacrificing love” (AGAPE LOVE), but unless there is a true friendship formed (through mutual interests and affections), you may not “like them” (PHILEO LOVE). This scenario may happen between believing spouses or siblings or believers outside of the family. We may show AGAPE LOVE in all of these relationships but if we lose the bond of friendship with them, we won’t be able to show them PHILEO LOVE. At those times “we love them, but we don’t like them.” When this happens, we need to ask the Lord to give us grace to rekindle our friendship with them by revealing anything in us that may have caused our affections for them to grow cold. If the problem is with them too, then we can ask the Lord to work in both of our hearts so we can once again be FRIENDS.  (470.5)  (DO)