Heaping burning coals on my enemy's head

"To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.'" - Romans 12:20 & Proverbs 25:21-22

My father worked for the American Embassy as I was growing up and so I lived about four years in the Middle East. The first two years I spent in Amman, Jordan. Now, Amman was an interesting experience because the average arab man is just a total sweetheart. They love you and they want to be your friend. In fact many store owners would give us whatever we wanted for free the first time we went to the store just so we would come back and be happy to see them.

This was, sadly, in sharp contrast to the arab kids I went to school with. Because it was an American school and tuition was around $13,000 per child, everyone that attended that school was either filthy rich or a poor embassy kid.

For two years I was verbally abused all day long by the rich-upper-class-jerky-attidude-local classmates I went to school with. The school was 97% locals and it was a small school, so there were only about three Americans.

Now it was a rough time of my life but I credit it with my turning to the Lord for the first time myself (instead of blindly following my parents faith). And one of the first verses that struck me was this verse in the Proverbs (and quoted in Romans). I remember specifically standing in line for the drinking fountain as a kid behind me was punching me in the back because I was smiling. I was repeating this verse to myself as I stayed calm and tried to remember that revenge is the Lord's. I kept that smile on my face for all I was worth and watched as I hoped the Lord was heaping burning coals upon his head.

Now I quote this because in retrospect I wasn't giving him something to drink or eat, I was taunting him with my smile. I was finding revenge myself in seeing him fume, and it was only years later that I realized this verse is not a verse about revenge, its a verse about love.

Love...
"and the LORD will reward you." - Proverbs 25:22b