My hopes in sharing Hannah's counsel and insights is that we can all feel a little less frustrated and guilty and a little more hopeful in those aspects of our lives when we know we should love someone- but we don't necessarily like them.
"It would be great if we could all experience the same warm, affectionate feelings toward each of our children. But at the same time, it may come as a relief to know that there is NO command anywhere in the entire Bible to *like* anybody—not our children, not our parents, not even our spouse. We are told to love. We are told to respect. We are told to honor. These commands involve behavior rather than feelings. But you are not in sin if you don't like your child—so long as that lack of feeling doesn't take the form of bitterness or anger or impatience or rudeness.
It is perfectly possible to love a person, even to the point of death, without ever *feeling* like it. Ideally, the feeling will be there too, to help motivate the love we give, but we can really and truly love somebody whether the feeling is there or not. The golden rule does not say to do unto others as we *feel* like doing unto them.
Often, the feelings will (slowly) begin to follow when the actions lead the way, and we can pray that they will follow quickly. But even if the feelings don't follow as we hoped, God is pleased when we are following *Him*. When we love the unlovely, we are following in the steps of His Son—and we do not have to pretend that the unlovely really *are* lovely at the moment. If we love our enemies as Christ commanded us to do, we do not have to pretend that they are not, in fact, our enemies. And sometimes, sadly, even our children can set themselves up as enemies for a time. So we can we do? Conquer them with LOVE.
We love because HE first loved us. Likewise, we cannot wait until our children are lovely before we love them, just as we cannot wait until our children are healthy and strong before we feed them. Love is the "food" that will slowly strengthen them to bestow love themselves. Just as we sometimes have to make our kids eat even when they say they aren't hungry, we also have to fill them up with love, even if they seem like they don't want it from us.
The more love we give them (through our actions), the more love they will be able to give. And the more love they are able to give, the easier they are to love. And so on. It's a snowball effect, but it sometimes starts so small that it can be hard to tell that the snowball is actually growing and not just rolling around aimlessly out in the cold."