vv 21-22 If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you.
Some of the sayings in this section chime well with our experience. How about verse 17 – Don’t visit your neighbours too often, or you will wear out your welcome. Ring any bells!
Or perhaps the imagery of verse 19 rings painful bells in your experience: ‘Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot. ‘
Other verses such as ‘Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. ‘ (Proverbs 20:22) Or ‘Don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!” ‘ (Proverbs 24:29)
My guess is that many of us have had these kinds of thoughts running through our minds at times. I will get even for this wrong … I’ll get even with them! Even the wise woman or man may think the thought – and then have to quickly dismiss it.
The new radical lifestyle not only requires us to forgive any wrong, but then also to follow it up by positive kindness to the person who hurt us.
Isn’t that just how our Heavenly Father relates to us? By our sin, or wilful neglect of doing right, we offend His holiness, and yet …. He forgives and showers us with the undeserved blessings of His presence and peace.