Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | January 15, 2015

January 15, 2015 “Burning Coals of Compassion”

“Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15)

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” (Romans 12:20)

Good Morning Fellow Believers!

One of my wife’s favorite movies is a comedy called “Mouse Hunt.” It’s the story of two inept brothers who inherit a dilapidated old house that is inhabited by a very clever mouse that thwarts their many efforts to rid the pest from the home. In the course of the film, they discover that the house is really worth a fortune and put it up for auction. Bidding on the house goes into the millions of dollars. But just as the deal is about to close, the house is destroyed due to their unsuccessful and drastic efforts to rid the house of this unwanted “guest.” In their misdirected zealous hatred for their assumed “enemy”, they lose something of great value. As it turns out (and I won’t spoil the surprising ending for those who have never seen the film but now want to go buy or rent it), a unique and satisfying conclusion awaits when their hatred is turned to admiration for their perceived adversary.

In scripture, we are taught the destructive nature of hatred. In the epistle noted above, John goes so far as to declare that “Any one who hates his brother is a murderer.” Since murder is a violation of God’s commandment, the consequences of hatred are separation from God for eternity…an awesome price to pay to nurture hatred towards another. Twentieth-century Christian author and pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick put an interesting spin on hatred and its consequences when he wrote,

“Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat”.   

Just like the hapless brothers in the referenced film, hatred only leads to the most undesired of consequences…it’s your own house that will end up in ruins. I like the apostle Paul’s advice in dealing with an enemy. Instead of “burning down your own house”, he writes, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” The burning coals of compassion are greater than the fanned flames of hatred. Hate that which is evil, yes, but strive to turn the heart of your enemy with acts of love, for in doing so, you will “heap burning coals upon his head.” Let’s pray!

O Lord; My prayer this day is that which was lifted up by your servant Francis of Assisi: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.” Amen!




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