Romans 12:20 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.”
There are probably people in our lives that we wouldn’t mind seeing burning coals heaped on their head. But the overall context of the verses we have been looking at really speaks to our attitudes and actions toward those who wouldn’t make our friends list. Paul has been writing about being a people whose love is sincere. This includes blessing those who persecute us; to bless and not curse; and not repaying anyone evil for evil
This is the Kingdom of God way of life – just the opposite of how our old natures want to respond. The Message states this verse this way, “Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.” Jesus takes it even further. He tells us to, “…love our enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who mistreat you.” He asks what credit is it to us if we only love those who love us; if we only do good to those who do good to us; if we only lend to those from whom we expect repayment? Our heavenly Father is kind to the ungrateful and wicked and He expects us to be merciful just as He is. (Luke 6:27-36)
There are two examples given in Exodus 23:4-5 that flesh out this reality in a practical, helpful way. “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.” Think of it this way. If we’re driving down the road and see someone who is nasty to us with a flat tire and need of help, we stop and help them. Or if they are taken ill and we have the opportunity to help with meals or assist them in some way, we do it.
But let’s add a twist. We must be careful not to assume that our kindness will produce an immediate change in them. That is for the Lord to do. How do we respond if the person we help then continues to be nasty – and then we encounter him needing help on the road again? Do we drive by and say, “You deserve it! I’m not going to help you!” Or do we stop again, because we have forgiven them and this is another opportunity from the Lord to bless them (and us)? Maybe an angel did in the tire because he knew we were coming and wanted to see what we would do.