If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Romans 12:20
I don’t think Paul had in mind what I did when I was around 10 years old. Someone was visiting our home for the day; people who had driven a long way to see our family. They visited us once a year and I didn’t like them at all. While we all sat visiting in the living room, my mother asked my sister and I to help put the finishing touches on the meal. Left to ourselves in the kitchen, we began to dish up the tossed salad into individual bowls and put them at each place at the table. While topping each one with some croutons, a mischievous idea occurred to us. Let’s top one of their salads, not with croutons, but with Meow Mix. I still remember my mother’s face when she saw the guest’s daughter eating her salad. (Yes, she ate it all!)
I’m mortified today as I remember that. My heart was so far away from the heart of Jesus. And, this girl wasn’t even an enemy. I just didn’t like her.
If I think of an enemy, the last thing I would want to do, initially, is make him/her a beautiful meal. But isn’t that the least I can do? Believe me, I’m stretched out of my comfort zone just like you. Didn’t Jesus do far more than that for me? I was an enemy, after all.
Pouring out kindness can subdue someone who hates me. And that is exactly how Jesus subdued and wooed me. “When I hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him (His Father) who judges justly. He himself bore my sins in his body on the tree, so that I might die to sin and live for righteousness; by his wounds I have been healed. I was like a sheep going astray, but now I have returned to the Shepherd and the Overseer of my soul.” I Peter 2:23-25
No subject generates as much mail as devotionals on forgiveness. My inbox has been full for the past week. To forgive is difficult enough. But then to repay with kindness and extravagance? Is Jesus kidding?
He knows what I don’t about forgiveness, revenge, and grace. He modeled it for me, using me as his object lesson. It would have been inspirational enough to see Him give His life for a stranger. But when He did it for me, how can I deny the effect?! Such undeserved kindness is what melted my heart. And, it continues to on a daily basis. Jesus is still trying to win over enemy’s hearts. It’s just that, now, he’s living through my body to do it. Will I quench His efforts?
Even with You as an example, I can’t do it without You doing it in my heart first. Help me. Amen