Heaping Coals Of Fire

     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.”  Romans 12:20, 21.

     Emma hated children!  What a horrid thing to say but, unfortunately, it was true.

     Emma lived in a time and a place where children played in the streets.  There were hardly any cars to be a danger to them, and the world was not such a wicked place as it is now.  So the children would play and make happy noises anywhere in the streets; anywhere, that is, except in front of Emma’s house.  If they strayed in front of her house, she would come out, waving her fist and shouting at them.  No, they never played in front of her house.

     But there was a family with two children, Tony and Susan, who lived right next door to Emma.  Tony and Susan would sometimes play in their own backyard, which had a short wall separating it from Emma’s.  If Emma heard them, she would come out into her yard and shout at them.  It was not pleasant living next door to Emma!

     Emma had not always been so unkind.  She was the eldest in a large family, and there must have been some happy times with her brothers and sisters.  As sometimes happens, she had been the one to look after the little ones, and as she got older, she resented having this responsibility and listened to Satan’s suggestion—“It was not fair.  Why was she the only one to look after her brothers and sisters?  Why did someone else not take a turn?”  And so it went, until she became bitter, and no one wanted to be with her.  The more no one wanted to be with her, the more unpleasant she became.

     Then came an exceptionally hard winter; it even got too cold to snow!  As the temperatures got colder and colder, children stayed indoors and kept near the coal fires, which would heat just one room of the houses.  People made sure that their water pipes were covered to keep the water inside them from freezing.  If the water in the pipes froze, it could crack the pipes, and this is what happened to Emma’s water pipes.  As the weather warmed and the ice started to thaw in the pipes, she noticed the steady drip of water through the crack in a pipe.  The drip soon became a flood as the crack widened, and Emma realized she was in trouble!  She had no friends or relatives to call and no money to pay an emergency plumber.  Finally, she decided she must go to her neighbors and ask for help.  But would they help her?  She had been so nasty to them. 

     Emma walked to Tony and Susan’s house, and with many tears, she told their father all about her troubles with the cracked pipe and the flood.  Would they please help her?  Of course they would help Emma, for this family was Seventh-day Adventist and knew all about forgiving.  The father went to Emma’s home and mended the pipe and helped to clean up the flood.  Emma was so relieved and pleased.  She thought of all those years of being nasty to people and how much heartache she had caused her neighbors.  She knew she must apologize, so again she went to her neighbors and, with many tears and wringing of her hands, she apologized for all the misery she had caused them.  They gladly forgave her.

     “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:32.

Sue Bennett