Thursday, 29 September 2011

How to treat your enemy

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. – Proverbs 25v21-22

Jesus once said – ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’

Unfortunately that is where it stops for too many people. Whether we do it or not we know that we should love our friends and family and neighbours. It is not always easy, but we try to do it.

Our enemies on the other hand we treat the same way that anybody else does – we just don’t have any use for them and we can even hate them and rejoice to see them suffer. Some of the most hateful vicious words I have even heard have been on Christian discussion boards, in church, or just in general conversation among professing Christians.

If we combine what Proverbs says here with Jesus’ comments after the one above you get this – ‘Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to people who hate you, pray for those you use and abuse you, if he is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.’


How does that work? We just take abuse from our enemies and keep loving them in return? My enemy shows up at my door I should offer him a cup of tea? What? The guy who has been vicious to me is thirsty and I offer him a cold drink of water? He verbally abuses me and I bless him? I am supposed to pray for him? I am to do good for him?

While it may not make sense, and the very thought may make our blood boil, that is the common theme throughout the Bible. We make a difference. We are not supposed to treat anyone, especially our enemy, the way everyone else does.

I have not come across a good meaning for the ‘heap coals of fire on his head’ idea but it seems to indicate that the heat of loving him back will begin to soften him and wear him down.

Either way, have a look at the last phrase ‘the Lord will reward you.’ Jesus said that if we do the things He talks about in regard to the enemy it is a mark of our maturity.

If you enemy is hungry – feed him. If your enemy is thirsty – give him something to drink. If you enemy reviles you – bless him. Pray for him.


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