if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
Anybody besides me have trouble with this in their lives? Honestly? Come on! It's a lot easier to just look and act and sound all spiritual, but actually putting it into practice . . . that's a whole different animal.
It's perfectly natural (ie., human) to want to hurt those who hurt us. That's the way of the world. You do something spiteful to me, I do something spiteful back at you.
Oh, but wait a minute. We are told to be "in" the world, but not "of" the world. Ya think that means we shouldn't "get back" at that person? If you think that, you'd be right.
Jesus reinforced this concept when He told His listeners, " But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28)
Again, these may be some of the toughest verses to obey in our daily lives. And many Christian brothers and sisters will peer past these to other verses that they like better. Ones that are not so tough to act upon. But we can't pick and choose -- we must pay attention to all of the verses!
Paul gently reminded us of these, in his letter to the Romans:
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.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Did you notice the last sentence? "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." That, I believe, is the key. We can't allow ourselves to be vanquished, or subdued, by the injuries of others. We cannot allow our kindness, our good temper, our testimony to be ruffled and then damaged by opposition --- our self control will show the power of the gospel!
Instead, overcome evil with good - what I mean is that we should vanquish and subdue evil by doing good to others. We can show them the loveliness of a sweet spirit, the power of kindness, and the value of a friendly, agreeable attitude. In so doing, we may disarm them of their own spitefulness, and be the means of bringing them to a relationship with Christ.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I stepped on my own toes today, and I'm going to go and soak them a little (and pray).