Not called to hate: Bankrupt without love

rusty gate
rusty gate Image source: Google

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”–1 Corinthians 13:1-3, The Message

What do you think of when you hear the word “love”?

You love Jesus.

You love your spouse, your kids, your sister, and your friends.

You love Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream.

You love your cat.

You love the This is Us TV series.

You don’t love bad hair days, gaining back the 15 pounds you lost last year walking and jogging, new wrinkles showing up in the mirror, catty women, and drama.

iced coffee
iced coffee

As I sit here writing at my laptop with an iced coffee, pondering the meaning of the word love, I realize that I so often fail to hit the mark, God’s way. In fact, much more often I’m like that creaking rusty gate in the above-mentioned passage in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Squeak, squeak. Rust corrodes and destroys. (Wince.)

Without God’s love in my heart, the Bible says that I’m getting nowhere. Bankrupt. Not a pretty thought.

heart of ice Source: http://timoelliott.com/photos/2013/01/17/a-heart-of-ice/
heart of ice
Source: http://timoelliott.com/photos/2013/01/17/a-heart-of-ice/

Sometimes I think that maybe I have a heart of ice. Ray has sometimes called me la belle dames sans merci–the beautiful woman without mercy. It is the name of an English ballad by poet John Keats, considered a classic with numerous interpretations.

In the poem, there’s a bleak wintry landscape and a broken knight. The beautiful lady is a femme fatale who attracts lovers only to destroy them with her supernatural powers. She destroys because it’s her nature to destroy. Not exactly a compliment from my husband, although I like when he calls me beautiful!

La belle dames sans merci by John William Waterhouse
La belle dames sans merci
by John William Waterhouse

No, I don’t want to be a femme fatale. I don’t want to hate anyone, either. God is love, and I am called by Him to love others, too. (1 John 4:8)

I want to be a woman of love, and yet even as I type this, I think, “Do I really? Am I willing to do what God requires of me to unconditionally love Him and others? Or am I too comfortable in my own skin of apathy, or even worse, of hate?

frustrated woman
frustrated woman

Hate is such an ugly word, isn’t it? Certainly not one with which a Christian–a Christ believer and follower–should be associated. And yet, I confess it out loud, now to the entire world.

I struggle with feeling hatred sometimes. I have for my entire life. I especially struggle with it at times in anger toward my husband Ray (and I can think of a few other people right now, too! And just so you know, Ray has struggled with feeling hatred toward me at times, too!)

Former first lady Barbara Bush recounted a time when Ruth Graham, wife of world-renown evangelist Billy Graham, was asked by a writer if she had ever considered divorce. “Divorce? No. Murder, yes.”

happy woman
happy woman

Maybe you can’t relate to me or Ruth Graham at all. I commend you for having a happy, free heart oozing over with God’s unconditional, reckless love and you having your life way more together than me.

You might even question if I am really a true Christian if I feel hate. Am I the only Christian who battles the sin of hatred?

No. Recently when Ray and I were in a marriage counseling session, the Christian therapist told me about a recent situation where she and a loved one were arguing loudly in her home, and she felt hatred for this family member. 

Did she stay stuck in the sinful stew of hatred in her heart? No. This gifted, anointed Christian therapist decided instead to leave the house, drive off [fast] in her car, and go get a large Diet Coke at Sonic to chill out for awhile. She came back home and they talked about it again more calmly now, reconciling. 

I admit that I felt secretly relieved when she told me this story! So, I’m not alone in this struggle! It’s a human dilemma.

The Bible addresses hatred in many verses. Some examples are:

  • 1 John 4:20
  • 1 John 3:15
  • Leviticus 19:17
  • 1 John 2:9
  • Ephesians 4:31
  • Galatians 5:20
  • Mark 7:21-22

What’s interesting is that the audience for most of these passages are Christian believers!

How do you overcome this evil weapon of hatred if you struggle with it, too?

  • Come to God. God is love. He is the One who can and will teach you how to love others.
  • Repent of the sin of hatred. Satan, who is God’s and our enemy, wants you to hate God, other people, and yourself. Ask God’s forgiveness for the hatred.
  • Ask God to fill you with His agape (unconditional) love and for victory in the situation.
  • Choose to forgive the person for how he or she hurt, angered, or offended you. If needed, ask forgiveness of the person you are struggling with hating if you have sinned against him or her.
  • Spend time daily reading and meditating on the Bible, praying, worshipping, and in fellowship with other Christian believers to help you in your walk. You are not alone.

I’m now writing a new non-fiction book: Metamorphosis: Transformed From Hate to Love, which will be available for sale soon at Amazon as an eBook. If you subscribe to my personal mailing list here at BethJones.net, you’ll be first to hear about its release. This is the beautiful cover for the eBook:

eBook cover
eBook cover

Just sign up at the top of the page on the right-hand side with your name and email, and confirm your subscription. You’ll also get a free gift when you sign up!

You can find the other books I’ve written here at my Amazon Author Page

Have you struggled with hating anyone? Leave your comments below. 

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Let new adventures begin!

Today is my birthday and I was so blessed by my family and my friends to wish me “Happy Birthday,” and to give me encouraging Scriptures, pretty graphics and words on Facebook.

Would you as my reader and fan on my subscriber list, here at BethJones.net, and on social media please pray for me and my family as well? We desperately need them! Let me know how I can pray for you as well!

woman praying
Woman praying

Every birthday and new year, I pray about the coming year. My prayer last night to God was private between Him and me for me and my family, but I cried many tears. But one prayer I’ll share publicly is this which comes from a little plaque I recently bought: “Let new adventures begin.” Amen!

A couple of friends on Facebook used that word adventure in wishing me well for the new year, so I took it as confirmation God will do just that! What adventures would you like to have in the coming year? Leave your comments below!

My husband Ray and me
My husband Ray and me

Today my husband Ray took me to lunch for my birthday–my requested choice was, of course, Mexican. My chips and salsa fix! After we ate our meal, I wanted more chips and salsa, but was embarrassed to ask for another bottle, so Ray did, saying it was my birthday. I laughed as he ordered not only the bottle, but a cup of salsa to go and he said, “Happy Salsa Day!” Yes, I’m addicted!

My birthday today with Ray at lunch--got my chips and salsa fix!
My birthday today with Ray at lunch–got my chips and salsa fix!

Ray gave me a pretty birthday card with flowers and butterflies on it. 

Birthday card with flowers & butterflies
Birthday card with flowers & butterflies

On Ray’s next paycheck (next week), we’re planning to do something special for his “gift” to me. I’m excited and can’t wait.

Our three beautiful daughters wished me happy birthday today, and my sister Maria and my friend Shelley called me this afternoon, all which made me very happy! It was a good birthday!

Our 3 beautiful daughters Heather, Eden, & Leah
Our 3 beautiful daughters Heather, Eden, & Leah

 

My precious sis Maria
My precious sister and my BFF, Maria Willis

 

My BFF Rochelle Valasek
my BFF Rochelle Valasek

I’m so thankful for another year. Each day is a gift. God is good and life is beautiful, even though there are hardships. I believe it’s important to count our blessings every day.

Me on my birthday today
Me on my birthday today

“The way I see it, you should live every day like it’s your birthday.” ~ Paris Hilton

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Our 25th silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party

Ray & me at our party
Ray & me at our party

Ray and I recently had our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary and bought our home. I wanted to celebrate with our children, grandchildren, and a few friends who prayed for us to buy the house.  God answered my prayer and our 3 beautiful daughters were there. Our grandchildren being there were the cherry on top, and I believe it is what God wanted, displaying His glory of what He has done for us. 

Table set for party
Table set for party

I was so happy to have our three beautiful daughters and four precious grandchildren (with one on the way) at the party. This made my whole day and filled me with joy.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12, ESV

Our family, from front to back, L to R: our grandson Jacob, granddaughters Annabelle & Violet, our daughter Leah, Our daughter Heather, granddaughter Piper, me, Ray, daughter Eden, Ray's parents Charles & Sue Jones
Our family, from front to back, L to R: our grandson Jacob, granddaughters Annabelle & Violet, our daughter Leah, Our daughter Heather, granddaughter Piper, me, Ray, daughter Eden, Ray’s parents Charles & Sue Jones

 

Since the party was on Mother’s Day, I gave our daughters a hand-written, floral note card and little yellow roses inside a teacup that reads, “Live, laugh, love” to tell them how much I love them and thank them for the honor of being their mom. I’ll post more about Mother’s Day and the gifts they gave me in a separate post.

Me giving our daughters their yellow roses & card
Me giving our daughters their yellow roses & cards
Pretty yellow roses I gave our daughters
Pretty yellow roses I gave our daughters

Ray’s dad and his stepmom Sue Jones drove in from N. Little Rock, Arkansas for the party and to visit us. We enjoyed their stay.  I’m not so sure his dad enjoyed it as much, as he was busy fixing things around our house, like installing an electrical plug by Ray’s work bench in the basement (he’s a licensed electrician) and helping Ray reattach the evaporator to the furnace, which had fallen off last week suddenly (this was quite a job!). Sue blessed me so much with encouraging words to minister to my heart. 

Ray's stepmom Sue & his dad Charles Jones at party
Ray’s stepmom Sue & his dad Charles Jones at party

I bought wedding bells, silver and aqua decorations at Dollar General for our “silver” 25th wedding anniversary. I thought they were really pretty. I still have the original cake couple topper in white and red that was on our wedding cake, and set that out, too. 

cake topper
cake topper
wedding bells
wedding bells
silver plates
silver plates
silver and aqua napkins
silver and aqua napkins

I also set these out as decorations, too, on the bar at the party:

  • my wedding album and original wedding guest book;
  • the blue roses carried by one of my bridesmaids;
  • my black garter (now faded black and purple);
  • the 7 silver, one-dollar coins a friend gave us as a wedding gift;
  • a gorgeous sunset-colored rose I received at church on Mother’s Day with the other women from the pastor;
  • a white candle and anointing oil from Jerusalem, Israel, that Ray’s friend sent us as a house-warming gift;
  • and the Mother’s Day gift Ray gave me, an “Our Home” picture.

I asked our guests to sign the original wedding guest book, and said that if Jesus tarries, guests can sign it again at our 50th anniversary! (Grace, God!) I also bought bubble wands for our grandkids to play with at the party. 

Wedding album, guest book, rose & Our Home picture
Wedding album, guest book, rose & Our Home picture
The rose I received at church for Mother’s Day
Ray's gift to me on Mother's Day
Ray’s gift to me on Mother’s Day

The “Our Home” picture reads:

“God chose this very house for us, to be our special home. A place that we can fill with love and call our very own. This house will hold our memories, our laughter and our tears, and it will be a place that’s safe to talk about our fears. And so we pray that God will make this house into a home, and we will give our praise to Him, Our Cornerstone.”

Our children bought us beautiful cards and gifts: a card on papyrus paper about the hummingbird, a large flip flop picture, white candle with a shell, and shell picture for my ocean-theme bathroom upstairs. The papyrus paper card was very pretty and unique!

I love the flip flop and shell pictures and candle; they went perfectly with my bathroom colors! The pic reads, “Life is always better in flip flops.” Amen! Although I love high heels (which I wore to this party), I am a sneakers and flip flop, beach kind of gal!

Papyrus paper card
Papyrus paper card
Flip flop pic that our children gave us
Flip flop pic that our children gave us

 

shell picture
shell picture
Shell candle
Shell candle

My in-laws bought us a beautiful silver and purple card with money inside and a lovely glass 25th wedding anniversary picture frame with a picture of Ray and me when we were by the Sea of Galilee on our Israel trip several years ago.

silver purple card
silver purple card
silver anniversary picture frame; Ray & me in Israel
silver anniversary picture frame; Ray & me in Israel

Our friends Dan and Liz bought us a really pretty silver card  with red hearts (I love hearts!), with an Olive Garden gift card inside it. OG – yum! Ray and I will have to go on a date soon! 

silver card
silver card with red hearts

All of these were very thoughtful gifts and I loved them!

Here’s some pics of us with our guests:

Piper feeding her mom Eden at party, haha
Piper feeding her mom Eden at party, haha
Jacob at partry
IOur grandson Jacob at party
Ray with our friend Dan Zacharias
Ray with our friend Dan Zacharias
Our friend Liz Zacharias with Ray's stepmom Sue Jones
Our friend Liz Zacharias with Ray’s stepmom Sue Jones
Dan getting food, me making sure all is ready, Ray
Dan getting food, me making sure all is ready, Ray
Our daughter Eden talking as usual, lol, Ray, our granddaughter Piper handing Ray his pushup handles
Our daughter Eden talking as usual, lol, Ray, our granddaughter Piper handing Ray his pushup handles
Ray holding our granddaughter Piper--precious!
Ray holding our granddaughter Piper–precious!
Us singing happy birthday to our granddaughter Violet & friend Dan
Us singing happy birthday to our granddaughter Violet & friend Dan
Violet opening her birthday gifts
Violet opening her birthday gifts: a pretty summer dress, an anklet & toe rings, and daisy flower hair bands
Violet not knowing what an anklet is, lol
Violet not knowing what an anklet is, lol
Violet in her dress
Violet in her dress
My friend Liz opening a gift from me at the party
My friend Liz opening a gift from me at the party: a decorative box & pretty necklace
Our tall granddaughter Annabelle (standing) and our 3 daughters with Piper
Our tall granddaughter Annabelle (standing) and our 3 daughters with Piper
Our 3 beautiful daughters with their yellow roses in the teacup I gave them
Our 3 beautiful daughters with their yellow roses in the teacup I gave them
Me giving Ray his gift - sterling silver cuff links
Me giving Ray his gift – sterling silver cuff links
Me & Ray opening gifts at the party
Me & Ray opening gifts at the party
Me & Ray - 25 year silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party
Me & Ray – 25 year silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party
Ray & me and our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah & Eden (and Piper, our granddaughter)
Ray & me and our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah & Eden (and Piper, our granddaughter)
Our family
Our family: I’m so thankful they all were there! Thank you, Jesus!
The party cake with a silver border & purple flowers. It reads, "25 years & a home. This is God!"
The party cake with a silver border & purple flowers. It reads, “25 years & a home. This is God!”

The cake says it all. It’s been a long, hard journey. But by God’s grace and mercy, Ray and I are still together, married 25 years, and we are now home-owners. This truly was the work and miracles of God!

*******
You can read about our very difficult marriage in my book on our marriage, Stained Glass & Marriage: Reflections of Light & Hope by an Imperfect Wife, at Amazon that is on sale now for just 99 cents, by clicking here:

 

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