Heaping Coals on the Heads of Your Enemies

I came across some scripture that, at first, seemed kind of confusing. There are a couple of places that mention this:

Proverbs 25:22

“For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward you.”

 

 Romans 12:20

“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him, if he thirst, give him drink, for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

 

Does this mean that they will be punished somehow? When you look at this, without really thinking, it appears that by doing this, it will punish your enemy somehow. I don’t think this is what is really meant here. Back in these times, there were things called braziers, which were metal pans used to hold lit coals. These were used to heat the home, for light, and to cook small meals with. If someone came to you and asked you for food, that was one thing. There might or might not be food shortages. Coals, on the other hand, were more scarce than food. By giving someone some of your coals, you might starve to death or even freeze in the winters. I believe that God wants us to give even of our coals. By giving even our enemies basic living requirements, it might change their view on life. Even if it didn’t change them, it might show others the way in which Christians are supposed to live.

There are some other verses around these that support this theory:

Matthew 5:43-46

43“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.   44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.   45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. 46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans do the same?”

What do you think this means?

It means that it’s easy to love those that love us and to do good things to those that do the same to us. It is really hard to do something nice for someone who hates us, uses us, and does nothing good in return. He asks us to do so anyway. By doing so, we prove our love for everyone around us, and prove that God loves everyone even more than we ever could.

Something else to think about here:

In the days and times of the first Christians, you have to realize that people were making a HUGE change by becoming Christians. They didn’t just get up in church and have a bunch of people pray for them, as is the way things happen in the United States in most places. These people would lose their jobs, their homes, and sometimes their very lives by professing to live in the name of Jesus! They were openly persecuted by both Jews and Romans. The Jews would disown anyone who followed Jesus. Any land, property, or money they would be entitled to was instantly gone. They were ostracized by everyone who wasn’t Christian.

I wonder how many of us Christians would still profess to be Christians if their very lives depended on the answer. Would you still claim to be Christian if it meant losing your job, your house, being imprisoned, or even being killed for your faith?

Ending Prayer

Heavenly Father:

Guide us, your children, to be an example to others in how to be Christians. Let us show the world how to truly love one another, and not just those that love us. Humble our hearts so that we may love our neighbors: friend and foe alike. I ask that you give strength to our brothers and sisters being persecuted all over the world for their faith in your son. If we are able to help anyone in some way Father, give us the opportunity to do so. Let us be the light upon the darkness, and never be afraid to declare you our God.              In Jesus name… Amen