(Prov 25:22 NLT) You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you.
This morning we get back to our series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” This verse is a continuation of the last, where Solomon said, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” Of all the things Solomon is known for, he is not known for teaching on love, but that is exactly what he is teaching us here. He sounds a lot like Jesus in these two verses. In Luke 6:28 Jesus said, “When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.” The traditional King James Version of that verse reads, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” While this can be difficult, especially if our mind has not been renewed to the love of God, it is clearly God’s expectation of us. Jesus lived by love and He is our ultimate example.
We looked at Jesus yesterday, but let’s take another look this morning. He was falsely accused, run through bootleg trails, convicted without one witness, slapped in the face, spat on, mocked, ridiculed, beaten, and then caused to hang on a beam in between two tried criminals; all three of them with nails driven through their hands and feet. Moreover, to add insult to injury, they drove a crown of thorns into His skull and put a sign over His head that read, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” How would love respond? Jesus could have called down a legion of angels to destroy them all, but Jesus looked beyond their actions and said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). What was Jesus doing? He was praying for this enemies. He was doing good to those who were coming up against Him.
Solomon tells us that when we walk in God’s love towards our enemies, especially when it is clear that they are coming up against us, that it is like heaping burning coals of shame upon their heads. Since Jesus did not repay evil with evil, Pilate was completely ashamed of what he allowed to happen under his authority. He knew good and well that Jesus had not done anything wrong. He was puzzled by the Jewish leadership’s insistence that Jesus had to die and he was distressingly upset when the crowd chose to release Barabbus, a hardened criminal, over the innocent Jesus.
Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, was also overwhelmed with guilt and shame. Jesus never once fought back against Judas, but rather kept loving him until the end. It is unfortunate, but Judas’ guilt and shame become unbearable, to the point that he commuting suicide. Now, Solomon is not advocating the fact that we should walk in love so our enemies can hurt themselves, but he is teaching that they will realize the error of their ways and their guilt and shame will cause them more grief than you ever could.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
1. Without question, the Father expects you to walk in love, even towards your enemies.
2. Responding to hatred with love confuses your enemy and causes them to experience guilt, shame, humiliation, and regret.
3. When you walk in love your enemy’s conscious will do more to change him/her internally than your external actions ever could.
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for helping me to develop in Your love daily. You are love and You are IN me. Therefore, I declare, by faith, that I have the ability to walk in Your love towards all men, even my enemies. When my enemies come up against me, I refuse to allow my flesh to cause me to respond carnally. I am led of Your Spirit in all things. I overcome evil with good and I shine as light in the midst of darkness. As I love my enemies, my love becomes like coals of fire that will burn shame, guilt, and regret into their hearts. Because of my love towards them, their conscious will lead them to repentance and it will do more to effectuate change in their lives than my actions ever could. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!