Text Illustrations
A HUNGRY ENEMY


A woman wrote to "Pulpit Helps" to explain a miraculous lesson her family experienced. During one of their family Bible readings as new Christians, they ran across the verse, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him" (Romans 12:20 RSV). She writes:


Ours sons, 7 and 10 at the time, were especially puzzled. "Why should you feed your enemy?" they wondered. My husband and I wondered too, but the only answer John could think of to give the boys was, "We’re supposed to because God says so." It never occurred to us that we would soon learn why.

Day after day John Jr. came home from school complaining about a classmate who sat behind him in 5th grade. "Bob keeps jabbing me when Miss Smith isn’t looking. One of these days, when we’re out on the play ground, I’m going to jab him back.

I was ready to go down to the school and jab Bob myself. Obviously the boy was a brat. Besides, why wasn’t Miss Smith doing a better job with her kids? I’d better give her an oral jab, too, at the same time!"

I was till fuming over this injustice to John Jr. when his 7 year old brother spoke up: "Maybe he should feed his enemy." The 3 of us were startled.

None of us was sure about this "enemy" business. It didn’t seem that an enemy would be in the 5th grade. An enemy was someone who was way off... well, somewhere.

We all looked at John. Since he was the head of the family , he should come up with the solution. But the only answer he could offer was the same one he had give before: "I guess we should because God said so."

"Well," I asked John Jr., "do you know what Bob likes to eat? If you’re going to feed him, you may as well get something he likes." "Jelly beans," he almost shouted, "Bob just loves jelly beans."

So we bought a bag of jelly beans for him to take to school the next day, and decided that the next time Bob jabbed John Jr., John was simply to turn around and deposit the bag on his "enemy’s" desk. We would see whether or not this enemy feeding worked.

The next afternoon, the boys rushed home from the school bus and John Jr. called ahead, "It worked, Mom! It worked." I wanted the details: "What did Bob do? What did he say?"

"He was so surprised he didn’t say anything - he just took the jelly beans. But he didn’t jab me the rest of the day!" In time, John Jr. and Bob became the best of friends - all because of a little bag of Jelly Beans.

Both of our sons subsequently because missionaries on foreign fields. Their way of showing friendship with any "enemies" of the faith was to invite the inhabitants of those countries into their own homes to share food with them around their own tables.

It seems "enemies" are always hungry. Maybe that’s why God said to feed them.


SOURCE: Pulpit Helps

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