Read: Proverbs 25:21-22
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
Our normal response to this verse is to think of it in terms of how God expects us to treat those toward whom we feel a fair amount of hostility, or those who feel that hostility toward us. Yet I think it would be a great exercise today to just back up for a moment and first consider this verse in terms of the hostility that once existed between you and God. Romans 5 reminds us that we were once the enemies of God. Ephesians 2 says we were deserving of wrath and without hope. Colossians 1 and 2 tells us that we were alienated from him and dead in our sins.
In other words, we were really in a bad way, and we couldn’t do a thing about it! But God, who is rich in mercy and overflowing with grace, reached out in love toward you and me and showered us with his undeserved kindness. He took the initiative to break down those walls of hostility that kept us separate from him, he freely forgave our sins, he graciously gave us new life, he brought us near when we were hopelessly far away and even though we were once hostile enemies, he turned us into his very best and dearest friends. So when you think about it, this command that we should do the same for our enemies only makes sense in light of what God has done for the undeserving sinners that we once were—and I suppose, in a very real sense, still are.
Yet before you think about any hostility that might exist between you and another person, just dwell for a few moments on your former condition—and rejoice! Bask in the rich grace and undeserved mercy of the Lord—and let your gratitude pour out! Think about it: You didn’t get what you deserved—God’s judgment. That’s mercy! And you got what you didn’t deserve—God’s favor. That’s grace!
Now, how can you offer anything less to those around us—especially to those who don’t deserve it?
“God forgives my debts as I forgive my debtors. The reverse is also
true: Only by living in the stream of God’s grace will I find
strength to respond with grace toward others.”
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
My guess is that you have an “enemy” in your life. Even though it is likely they don’t deserve it, commit an act of grace upon them–today! It might be tough, but let the undeserved kindness that God has showered upon you be your motivation. And keep in mind that he promises a reward to those who will act upon his command. That may soothe your pain a bit as you love your enemy.