A HEAVENLY PARADOX
Have you ever sat and watched children play? Eventually, children take ownership over the strangest things - a place on a chair; a particular cookie where there are many identical cookies on the plate, perhaps a certain toy. Then one pulls the item from the other, the one child may hit to get what it wants, and a battle ensues. No one wins, the parent or guardian has to intervene. Normal children stuff.
There is a simple reason why we see skirmishes today in our world: it is the need for retaliation. You do evil to me, I am going to get you back. Plain and simple. You see it on our highways. You 'invade' my space, you take my parking spot and you're in trouble. I see this action in myself, I want to guard myself against it, my first reaction is to flinch and get angry. Sometimes I am able to stop and pray for the avenger; sometimes I sit and fume. Sometimes I pound the steering column!
"Therefore, if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink; for in so doing you shalt heap
coals of fire on his head". Romans 12:20
Paul has echoed Yeshua's words - love your enemy. It is easy to love our friends, isn't it? But if I sit, and I think about a someone who I sense does not like me, or someone that I get irritated with, or am jealous of, I find it hard to pray for them. We have all been hurt by others, and we have hurt others.
When we are hurt, there is something inside of us that desires retaliation. We want to get even, we want to see that person endure the hurt and pain that they have caused to us. However, retaliation creates evil within myself. Retaliation always causes loss for the avenged and the avenger. No one ever wins.
I am convinced that this is the plain and simple reason for war, foes don't understand that in repaying evil for evil, no one ever wins.
Paul's words speak of a heavenly paradox to us. However hard that it is, we must love our enemy, for it is like placing coals of fire on his head. Coals are symbols of divine presence in Scripture
At the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds
Hailstones and coals of fire.
The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
These words are similar in 2 Samuel 22:13.
God required coals of fire to be taken from the Altar, with incense added and it was to be brought within the veil (Lev. 16:12)
In one of these 'mysteries of God', coals of fire become coals of love. I do not understand it, but when we seek reconciliation, when we step out of ourselves and seek to meet our 'enemy' to repent and reconcile, it is a mystery of God of the transformation that takes place. It is a heavenly paradox.
It was a heavenly paradox when Yeshua uttered the words from the Cross:
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
The ultimate picture of love is loving our enemies. There is great blessing in reconciliation. Our soul receives comfort. We sing "Hiney mah tov u mahnayim, Shevet achim gad yachad.
How good and how pleasant, when brothers live together in unity Ps. 133:1
Paul's words are found also in Proverbs 25:21-22 and we see why there is a benefit to this.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.