If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
Many of us might be hard-pressed to write an enemies list, but Christians actually have many enemies. Whoever is an enemy of Christ and the gospel is also an enemy of the Christian. Our enemies, in this regard, may work side by side with us, live next door, or even live in the same home. It is these people whom Jesus would call us to love, pray for, and treat with the type of kindness many would reserve for close friends.
When we do think of enemies, they are of the type usually created and nurtured by our own sinful natures, not by our devotion to Christ and the gospel. It is our sin, too, that makes obeying this command to love our enemies difficult. As a result, we tend to avoid people we don’t prefer or simply burn the connecting bridges to them. However, Christ wants us to engage with them and treat them with special kindness to get their attention, and with a desire for reconciliation to win them back and redeem the relationship. This can be a powerful witness of saving grace and confirmation of the regeneration in our own hearts.
Jesus overcame our evil with his good to redeem us and with the burning coals of the Holy Spirit’s conviction changed our hearts. And we who were once his enemies became his brothers and sisters. By acting on this command and following Christ, we can make important inroads into others' lives and find opportunities that would otherwise be missed.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Pat Canavan. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org