But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.
— ROMANS 12:20 —
Gideon Manda: Central African Preaching Academy | Malawi
As sinners, our natural response to an enemy is to retaliate. But here, Paul emphasizes the need to conquer evil with good as he quotes Proverbs 25:21–22. In living a transformed life in Christ, we should be on guard, ensuring that we are not overcome by evil but rather conquer evil with good. Where I come from in Malawi, there is a saying: “When someone hits you, you have to hit them back.” Who is your enemy? Write down five ways you can practically do them good and return good for evil. Growing up, some parents would be the ones encouraging such behavior. By retaliating, you may gain respect, both from the individual as well as from onlookers. However, in many cases the opposite proved to be true—seeds of vengeance bore more fruits of animosity and hatred than they did of respect. What Paul teaches in this text would not only gain someone true respect, but it also has the ability to cause many to follow Christ as their hearts melt when met with kindness instead of reprisal. Pride and revenge strain and sever relationships; Paul’s teaching seeks to build and repair relationships. The concept of feeding your hungry enemy and offering a drink to your thirsty foe sounds strange, unconventional, and foolish to many; yet out of His wisdom, God calls us to turn the other cheek. Our part is to trust Him and lovingly obey His commands. This is the duty of every Christian to his/her enemy, to return good for evil. Who is your enemy? Write down five ways you can practically do them good and return good for evil.