Bible Question:

How can you love someone who does not love you back? They mistreat me and think I am dumb. If I am nice to them, they mistreat me. How can I love them?

Bible Answer:

God does not ask us to like someone or have a positive emotional feeling for someone, but He does ask us to love them. Does this statement seem contradictory? Most people think of love as a feeling. Love is usually considered to be a sexual or romantic feeling when we think of the opposite sex. Otherwise, we think of love as a no-nromantic but positive feeling toward others.

Love Unconditionally

Jesus told us that we should love others in a comment that He made to a lawyer.

One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'” (NASB) Matthew 22:35-39

The word that Jesus used for “love” (agape) is a Greek word that implies action and not emotion. God did not ask us to create or develop inner positive emotions for another person. He did ask us to act in a loving manner towards others even when they mistreat us.

We cannot create on our own an internal positive feeling for someone who mistreats us. It is impossible for us to generate that type of feeling, but God can help us.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (NASB) Galatians 5:22-23

Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that He produces in our lives. Romans 5:5 tells us that the love of God has already been poured out into the heart of a follower of Jesus. We just need to yield to God and allow the Holy Spirit to cause it to blossom.

. . . the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NASB) Rom. 5:5

Forgive Uncoindtionally

It sounds like you have been offended by this person. If so, then you need to forgive them. That was Jesus’ message to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22. Peter had asked if he should forgive someone who has offended him seven times. Peter thought he was being generous. But Jesus said seventy times seven. That is, we repeatedly forgive. We never stop. When Jesus was on the cross, He forgave everyone who was crucifying Him. They were shouting, rejoicing and insulting Him. Yet, He forgave and so should we. Forgive and forgive . . .


The Holy Spirit helps us love someone who mistreats us. We must start by admitting our hurt feelings and anger to God. Then each one of us needs to ask the Holy Spirit to take control of his/her life. This is called being filled with the Spirit or walking in the Spirit. If you start following this principle you will discover that your feelings toward this person start to change. It will take time. Do not be impatient. May the Lord bless you.

Suggested Links:

Pursuing Holiness
Book of Jonah
If You Forgive