Rom 12:20 “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
How often have we heard the expression concerning our adversaries that we should “kill them with kindness?” There are some that would try to convince you that this is the meaning of this scripture. When we feed our enemies, or give them something to quench their thirst, what is our motivation? If it is the idea that in doing so, we are somehow getting even with them for some wrong, then it would be better if we did not do it at all.
Such an attitude flies in the face of all that Paul has taught up to this point. We should have great compassion on our adversaries. If they are hungry and it lies within our means to feed them, then that is what we should do. Should we find them fatigued from thirst, we should gladly give them something to drink. Being kind to our adversaries should never be about doing them harm.
Heaping coals of fire on their heads is not about causing them anguish as a way of retribution. Rather, it is about our hope that, through kindness, it would please God to stir up their conscience. Our desire should be to help them with the prayer that God might cause them to see the error of their walk. It should be our desire to see them come to repentance and live a life that honors God.
If our so-called kindness is done with the idea that we are doing so to get even, then we are subdued by evil. Our actions, while they might appear good to the outside observer, are worthless before God who sees our heart and intent. The only one who is going to feel the burning of conscience in such a situation is us. We must keep our focus on Christ and His command to love each other like He loves us.
We should all desire to see evil (worthless) actions conquered. The solution given us in the scripture is very simple. We are to conquer evil with good. It is not just the evil in others that is overcome with good, but the evil in our own lives is subdued when we do good before the Lord.
There is much evil in the world around us. Evil is so celebrated that the news media tells us only the evil and the horrific because that draws a crowd. But where the Spirit of the Lord is, the is also good. Both our actions and our intent should be for good.
May God give us the grace to live godly in this present world (Titus 2:12) and to overcome evil with good!