Heap Coals of Fire on his Head

Heap Coals of Fire on his Head

Many Christian teachings instruct us to treat others with kindness, even our enemies.  The book of Romans teaches us to bless those who persecute us, not to take our own revenge, and to overcome evil with good.   In the midst of these loving lessons is a verse that seemed completely out of place to me for many years.  

Therefore "IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM; IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP COALS OF FIRE ON HIS HEAD." - Romans 12:20 (NKJV) [quoting Proverbs 25]

This reads as if the only reason we should do something nice for our enemy is so that something bad will happen to him.  That’s not a very loving message!  I recently took the time to research this further.  Thanks to this study, I learned the term ‘coals of fire’ refers to a burning sense of shame; shame that could lead to repentance and reconciliation with God. 

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. - 2 Corinthians 7:9 (NKJV)

Wouldn’t that be the ultimate in conflict resolution?  This is yet another reminder of how deeply God loves each one of us.  What a blessing!