I remember centuries ago when I was young, that when a boy said he liked a girl, it meant he wanted her to be his girlfriend. He had a crush on her. The word "love" was something one felt for their parents or peanut butter. But if I recall correctly, the word "love" became the description of how I felt if the girl also "liked" me. Over the years, I "liked" more often than I "loved" but I guess that pretty much describes most people. We seem to be searching for that special someone who will "like" us back. If the girl did not share my feelings, and if she were a nice person, she would say, "I like you, but just as a friend." Those words crushed for a while, but were also very liberating, because it meant I was free to continue "the hunt."
Something I have noticed lately is that the word "like" is never used in the Bible. "Love" is all over the place, and even made number one on the list of the Spirit's gifts. Oh, I know "love" is part of the fruit of the Spirit and not one of the gifts of the Spirit, but it has been my experience that the only way my selfish soul truly loves is when the Spirit places love for another in my heart. Which brings me to another point. True love for a person is not an emotional thing. It is not a feeling. True love is a commitment, a decision. Jesus certainly did not like the Pharisees, but He died for them. Stephen did not like the stone-throwers, but he prayed that his murder would not be held against them. Peter disliked those who rejected Jesus enough to cut off an ear, but he would eventually give up his life while trying to convince "rejectors."
As a great grandparent, I have three generations of offspring, all of whom I love dearly. I would do anything I thought would help them. I would even go to jail or give my life to protect any one of them. But, there are times when I don't like them. At times, each of them exhibits characteristics that are too much like me for me to like them. In fact, there are times that I would prefer a family member would focus on someone else rather than talk to me. But there has never been a time that I did not love them. I have chosen to love them in spite of their flaws, just as I hope they love me in spite of mine.
1 John 4:11-21 has a great deal to say about love. God loves us. Because God loves us, we love Him. If we love Him, we ought to love others. If we say we love God when we don't love others, we are liars. God commanded us to love one another. In Galatians 5:13-14, we are told that love is practiced by serving one another, and that by serving others, we are actually loving God. Our loving through serving is what pleases Him the most. He even declares that the entire six hundred plus laws of the Old Testament are satisfied, or fulfilled, when we love others. Notice it says ALL of the Law is fulfilled, which means the requirement to love the Lord your God with all your heart is fulfilled in serving others. I do not have to like you, but I have to love you if I want to please God. So, I choose to love you. I do love you.