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How to Respond to People Who Don't Like You

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


There are some people who will not like you no matter what you do or say. While it is futile trying to get them to like you, there are some things you can do to have an inner peace about how they treat you.

Know that everybody is not going to like you. In fact, they will dislike you for no reason at all. Some of them dislike you without even knowing who you really are. They might not know why they don't like you; they just do.

People might not like you because they cannot manipulate and control you. They might be jealous of you for something you can do that they can't do. They might resent you because you shine a light on their darkness, and they don't like it.

So, how should you respond to people who don't like you? It is very difficult to keep loving them when you know they don't love you or respect you. It is especially challenging when you have to be around those people all the time. Some of them might be in your own family, at your workplace, in your local community, and even in your church.

Kevin O'Leary on "Shark Tank" says, "You're dead to me!"

Kevin O'Leary on "Shark Tank" says, "You're dead to me!"

Suggested Responses from the World

Former First Lady Michelle Obama says, "When they go low, you go high." Millionaire Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank often says to those who get on his nerve, "You're dead to me."

Jennifer Lopez's character got even with her abusive husband in the movie Enough after she took a self-defense course to protect herself from her husband's beatings. She put her training into practice and got the upper hand on her husband when he tried to beat her again.

While those responses might work for some, they will not work for everyone. There are some people who want to live holy and do what the Bible says about loving their enemies and keeping peace with those who despise them.

Matthew 5:44.

Matthew 5:44.

Suggested Responses from the Word

The Bible is filled with ways disciples of Christ should respond when they are being mistreated by those who don't like them. According to Matthew 5:11, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."

That scripture says you are blessed when your enemies mistreat you especially because of your relationship with God.

There are four ways to respond to your enemies, according to Matthew 5:44.

  1. Love your enemies.
  2. Bless those who curse you.
  3. Do good to those who hate you.
  4. Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

Heap Coals of Fire on Your Enemies' Head

According to Proverbs 25:21-22, "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you." That scripture tells us to take care of our enemies with physical food and drink. We also are commanded to show love and kindness toward our enemies by heaping coals of fire on their heads in a metaphorical sense.

During biblical times, women carried pails of water and other things on their heads, including hot coals. The image of putting hot coals on a person's head might seem like torture. The image is to bring a relationship back to life again like putting hot coals on a fire that is about to go out in the fireplace.

That act is to promote your enemies to feel remorse for their hatred toward you. When they see your kindness, their attitude about you will change. The warmth you display might cause them to respect you and like you better. Your actions toward your enemies might make them respond to you the way you respond to them.

God knew we would have enemies, and everyone will not like us. That's why there are so many verses in the Bible about loving your enemies.

  • "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
  • "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14).
  • “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High” (Luke 6:35).

Some people who are best friends today didn't start off that way. Many stories have been told about people who didn't like each other at first, but they ended up becoming best friends. Some of them are married today because one or both of them changed their attitude toward each other.

The Best Thing You Can Do

The best thing you can do when you know someone doesn't like you is to counteract their hatred for you with your love for them. If it is challenging and you just cannot love them on your own, then ask God to let you love your enemies through His heart.

  • Why You Should Love Your Enemies
    The Bible says we should love our enemies. Have you ever wondered why God commands us to love those who mistreat us and seek to do us harm?
  • What the Bible Says About Revenge
    The Bible is the Christian instruction book for righteous living. Some people seek to get revenge on those who have wronged them. However, the Bible has something different to say about getting even.


Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 29, 2019:

Yes, RTalloni, it is better to do God’s will and to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, according to 1 Peter 3:17. Thanks for adding to my article.

RTalloni on March 29, 2019:

Always, we need to consider this always, because dealing with enemies is part of life.

You have reminded me of 1 Peter 3:14-18. Thank you!

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