Friday, December 16, 2011

Burning Coals

Proverbs 25:21-22 says that if you give your enemy food when he's hungry and water when he's thirsty, it will heap burning coals on his head and the Lord will reward you (Rebecca's paraphrase of NIV).

My husband doesn't know I'm writing this, but he is really good at heaping burning coals on my head. Now, I'm not exactly his enemy, but, on days like today, he would be justified in looking at me as one if he chose to. I got angry that I had to stop vacuuming and keep the baby from screaming because he had a business phone call, and then a whole list of other annoying things (annoying to me, anyway) happened that made me close the door a little forcefully (ok, I slammed it) on my way out the door with the yelling child shoved under one arm.

I'm really, really glad he works from home. But do you think I can remember that when I get annoyed by silly inconveniences like that? Noooo. Instead I have to have a pity party about the fact that I'm JUST trying to get the house clean, and I'm JUST trying to figure out why the kid is screaming, and I'm JUST trying to do the laundry with her in tow!

But does he get mad with my unreasonableness? Nope, he says "why don't you run to the store and finish the Christmas shopping while Elsie is napping?", while kindly patting my back. (By the way, you would think this one advantage of having him work at home would be worth all the inconveniences...and it is when I'm being reasonable!).

Of course, I feel like a total jerk when he heaps the coals on like this. Does he have annoyances in his work day? I'm sure he does. Do I perhaps add to them with my bad attitude (especially on Thursdays and Fridays when I seem to run out of patience for the week)? I'm sure I do.

But he doesn't reproach me. He heaps the coals on in the kindest way possible. Of course, it doesn't always increase my depleted store of patience, but it sure makes me pray a little harder for a bigger store next time!

So, if you have someone who is either a real enemy or just a family member who occasionally acts like they are (your kid at 2 am, your spouse in a bad mood, you get the picture), heed Proverbs 25:22 and heap on those coals of kindness.

It'll probably help.