This is a struggle common to all people. We want to do the good and loving thing. We want to refrain from doing what is unloving or that stalls our love towards others. The problem is that other people annoy us, get in the way, and do mean things to us. They make us not want to love them. So it seems.
The truth is, other people don't make us not want to love them, we make ourselves not want to love them.
Others may wrong us or do things that initiate negative emotions and thoughts but we can only control our own behavior and we all must control our own behavior. If we stay stuck in an emotion it is most likely because we have chosen to dwell in that emotion and given it rule within us. We don't have to do that. Now, standing against our negative emotions can be difficult but it certainly is by no means impossible.
In fact, with God, all things are possible. Even the evil people of this world (like me) can be saved. And through Christ we can endure all things, even hardships, wrongdoings of others, annoyance, and destructive emotions and attitudes. Knowing these truths is key to being obedient to God.
We know we're supposed to love neighbors and enemies. This is not new to us. For the sake of discussion, let's move forward saying that the people we find ourselves at odds with (emotionally, in attitude, and in action) are all "enemies." What does this mean to love these people?
Loving enemies is explained by Jesus in Luke 6 when he states, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ...Do to others as you would have them do to you." Basically, do only good things to them, along with extending to them prayers and blessings. This demands a positive, generous, kind, and patient, attitude.
Easier said than done right? Right. But why? I have a theory.
Too often we think our emotions and attitudes need to lead the way into this love for enemies. We still believe love is primarily a feeling and not an action. We believe a feeling of affection must seize us organically and spontaneously (or after some measure of time) before we can truly act in love towards our enemies. We believe that to act before feeling would be a deception to them and ourselves, most of all to God. In other words, we'd be inauthentic (and nothing bothers us as much as not being authentic).
Here's the rub: That is a giant lie.
Jesus never calls for us to feel good about enemies or have affection for them before loving them with our deeds. He never says "Once you have defeated your initial anger towards being wronged, then go and do good." He simply tells us to love them. We must be about the work of love and we must be about it now, not later. We can not afford waiting until we simply feel differently on the matter or person. If we do, we shall wait forever.
Perhaps this is why we are given only the command to do good, to do loving things towards those we are at odds with. Jesus, as Creator and Redeemer, knows that loving actions leads the way to transforming our feelings and attitudes.
When we depend on our emotions to lead us into the way of love we depend on ourselves, and the least dependable part of ourselves. We must learn to let Jesus lead us into the way of love. When we move our motivational focus from our emotions to Jesus Christ then we find a new mode of operation.
This is why we treat others how we want to be treated when we don't feel like it. We believe that love is seen in offering our lives to others, especially those we are at odds with, and we have been commanded to live this way by the man who showed us true love when we deserved the exact opposite.
So when someone says something foolish, cuts you off in traffic, insults you, robs you, or brings any aggression your way, do good and bless them for you, like Christ, are here to love as a light in the darkness. Don't fade into the dark by letting your emotions win over you but rather ask God to deliver you from temptation and evil, focus on Christ, and be light.