You’re right and they’re wrong … so what are you going to do about it? They have treated your poorly, talked about you, taken advantage of you, and come back to do it again. They want to fight. They want to argue. They want to stir up trouble and get you upset. Is that what will happen here again?
What if I could guide you to two scriptures today to help you know exactly what to do when someone is against you? How do you handle this? How do you win this battle without battling? What does God expect you to do here?
The book of Proverbs is filled with truly practical advice. The kind of advice your grandma would give you, advice she learned from her grandma before her. Like Proverbs 25:16 “If you find honey, eat just enough. Too much of it will make you vomit.” That’s a true story right there. Then the next verse proves the same point, “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house. Too much of you, and they will hate you.” That’s fantastic advice. It was true back then and it’s true today.
So, tucked away in God’s word is advice for handling this situation where someone wants to argue with you. Someone who wants to take up their issue with you and make it personal. Someone who wants to get nasty with their insults and personal with their attack. Maybe you know them, maybe you live with them, maybe you work with them, or maybe they’re just on Facebook. Here’s your scripture, Proverbs 25: 21-22 “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.”
The only part of that which sounds appealing to you is the “heaping burning coals on his head” part, right? Yeah … I will be kind and it will set his head on fire. I will kill them with kindness. It will hurt them worse than it hurts me! REVENGE!
But, did you know this scripture actually has nothing to do with revenge? This isn’t about killing anyone with kindness. This isn’t about making them regret what they did. This is about being genuinely kind because kindness is what is in you.
Yes, God put KINDNESS in you. Let me prove it. As a follower of Christ, you get to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. This is how you are prompted by God. This is what gives you that holy little nudge to do the right thing. This is that unspeakable peace you feel when you do what you know you’re supposed to do, and the opposite of peace when you’re doing the wrong thing. Yip, that’s the Holy Spirit. And that Spirit grows within you to produce fruit in your life. What are those fruits? Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness …”
KINDNESS. You are to be kind because KINDNESS is what is in you through the Holy Spirit. You see Sis, this isn’t about who they are, this is about who YOU are. You can be kind here because kindness dwells in you. This is who God has made you to be. God doesn’t say anything about you always being right. He doesn’t say anything about your point always being made. He doesn’t say anything about you and your soap box. You and your list of how it should be. God’s word says YOU be KIND because God has deposited his KINDNESS within you.
Now, back to that heaping burning coals on their head thing. Let’s get back to that because that sounds kinda awesome when someone has done you wrong. And you would be right, this is kinda awesome when someone has done you wrong. You should totally do this. Let’s understand exactly what it means.
This was written at a time when keeping your fire going was a life-saving necessity. Everything about surviving centered around fire. If someone could not keep their fire going, they would put a container on their head and walk around town asking for hot coals to rekindle his dying fire. To give him hot coals was to help him. It was to fulfill his need. It was to care about him enough to take from what you have to restart what was struggling in his life.
Dang it. That’s not what we thought it was, now is it? We’re back to being KIND again. We’re back to helping, to giving, to loving, to sharing. And be assured of this, when you do, GOD WILL REWARD YOU.
Read that scripture again, “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.”
Did you ever think about this … God doesn’t need you to to be ugly. He doesn’t need you to be hateful. He doesn’t need you to be bitter or loud. He doesn’t need you to give that cold shoulder, slam a door, or post about it. He has called you to be none of these things. He has called you to show up with the fruits of his Spirit. Yes, that means to be KIND because KINDNESS is what he has grown within you.
Think of the story of Saul changing into Paul How many people did it take to change Saul, when Saul was so wrong? Did it take a church mob running after him? Did it take a group of 20 highly convicted, self-righteous, anger driven women to hunt him down and tell him to stop cutting off the heads of the followers of Christ? No, it took God! Seriously, let’s read the story in Acts 9:
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. (Saul was wrong, really really really wrong. And he was still doing wrong. It was ongoing harm, hurt and hate.)
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.
“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Who stopped Saul? God and ONLY God. Who corrected him? That would be God.)
For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man named Saul, for he is praying.
In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
(Why was Saul praying? Because GOD HAD INTERVENED!!! God had began giving him visions that were changing his heart. That’s something only God can do!)
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem.
And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” (Ananaias is saying, Lord, he’s a bad guy and we don’t like him. Can I heap burning coals on his head to hurt him instead of help him? If I help him, won’t that help him continue doing the wrong he has been doing? Why God?)
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name …”
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (What was Ananaias doing? He was helping him. He was showing kindness because of who he was, not because of who Saul had been or what he had done.)
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.”
How many people did God use against Saul? None. God only used Ananaias to HELP him. Help him while he was still wrong. Help him before he changed. Show kindness to him before Saul ever showed an ounce of kindness.
What if God has every intention of radically changing the person who is so wrong in your life, but you fighting with them is only standing in the way of God’s miraculous power? What if God doesn’t want you to prove anything, other than the KINDNESS of his Spirit which dwells within you?
Saul was radically changed by God that day and he received a new name, Paul. Yes, Paul, who wrote at least 12 books of our Bible! How did this change happen? God did the work, and Anananias helped him as God instructed out of kindness.
Now one more scripture to help guide us when in the middle of an attack, in a battle you don’t belong in, with someone who only wants to fight. Proverbs 26: 20 “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.”
Someone has to be the first to stop talking about it. Someone has to be the one who stops picking and poking and bringing up past offenses and old wounds. Let that person be you. The quarrel dies down when you stop fighting.
Many years ago I picked up a tiny little red book that was filled with the best marriage advice. One page said “It takes two to fight, don’t be one of them.”
Hey you, you with the Spirit of God living within her … YOU BE KIND because Kindness is what is in you. This is about who you are, not about how they’re acting.
Proverbs 25:24 “Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack than share a mansion with a nagging spouse.”
If you’ve become that nagging spouse, stop. That’s not who God created you to be. That’s not a proper representation of His Spirit that lives within you. Nagging wasn’t on the list of the fruits of the spirit. That’s not what God produces in your life.
Don’t be that person in your home. Don’t be that person in your neighborhood. Don’t be that person in the office. Don’t be that person on Facebook.
You be kind. Bring your coals and share that life-saving power to help someone else. Not because of who they are and what they are doing, but because of who God has made you and what he has grown inside of you.