“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary:

‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. (Proverbs 25:21-22)’

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12:9-21

The term “to heap burning coals on someone’s head,” is not, as it might seem at first glance, an act of vengeance. It’s actually an act of kindness. People needed to keep their home’s fire burning during the night to cook food in the morning. If it died out, they would go to a neighbor and ask for live coals to relight their fire. The neighbor would have to get out of bed and give some of their own fire’s coals. The coals would be heaped into a container on the person’s head to carry home.

This is love. We are to go our of our way to bless our enemies even when it’s an inconvenience, even if we don’t feel like it, and even when it causes us a degree of suffering. In this way we introduce our enemies to the love of Christ, and bring the kingdom of heaven to their door. It is, after all, God’s loving kindness that brings us all to repentance.

Grace and Peace,