Give Forgiveness
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Give Forgiveness
Page 89

Heap Burning Coals

Hot embers in a potJesus taught each disciple to forgive when he said in Luke 6.37b, "Forgive, and you will be forgiven." To forgive is literally, "Let loose, release, set free" those who have hurt or wronged you. Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1931-present) the South African Anglican cleric and theologian known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist said, "Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning." But how hard it is to give forgiveness! One particular verse concerning forgiveness in Proverbs 25.22 always baffled me. It read, "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you." I puzzled over its meaning for a long time until I read an explanation by an Indian Bishop, Bishop Pillai (1900-1970) in his little book "Light Through an Eastern Window." There, he explained that the Bible reference taught the reader to heap burning coals of fire upon the heads of those who wronged you, and that means to do good to them.

Oriental Custom

How vengeful and unchristian, I first thought! Then I read that it was the custom in an Oriental village and is still practiced in some parts of India today to carry smoldering embers in a piece of pottery on the head from one house to another in the early morning to start everybody's fires. This was a very pleasant, warming experience for the one who carried them. The inference was therefore that we should first give blessings to those who have wronged us that they might be ashamed and repent. This is how forgiveness should be!

"Give Forgiveness"
by Ron Meacock © 1982-2018

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