ODB: Heaping Coals on Enemies

June 27, 2023

READ: Proverbs 25:18–23 

Give [your enemy] food to eat. . . . In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Proverbs 25:21–22

Dan endured daily beatings from the same prison guard. He felt compelled by Jesus to love this man, so one morning, before the beating was about to begin, Dan said, “Sir, if I’m going to see you every day for the rest of my life, let’s become friends.” The guard said, “No sir. We can never be friends.” Dan insisted and reached out his hand.

The guard froze. He began to shake, then grabbed Dan’s hand and wouldn’t let go. Tears streamed down his face. He said, “Dan, my name is Rosoc. I would love to be your friend.” The guard didn’t beat Dan that day, or ever again.

Scripture tells us, “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” (Proverbs 25:21–22). The “coals” imagery may reflect an Egyptian ritual in which a guilty person showed his repentance by carrying a bowl of hot coals on his head. Similarly, our kindness may cause our enemies to become red in the face from embarrassment, which may lead them to repentance.

Who is your enemy? Whom do you dislike? Dan discovered that the kindness of Christ was strong enough to change any heart—his enemy’s and his own. We can too.

— Mike Wittmer

What kind act might you do today to “heap burning coals” on your enemy’s head? How might you pray specifically for them?

Dear Jesus, I praise You that Your kindness leads me to repentance and inspires me to be kind to my enemies.

Source: Our Daily Bread