Praying for our enemies


#1

I frequent a home school message board that is very Christian, peopled with many devout women. Most of the ladies are Protestants. I have noticed a trend that disturbs me, but since that is a board dedicated to home schooling it is not the place to ask my question. This seems like a much better-suited forum.

Members will occasionally post about problems they are having with other individuals, usually family members who disagree with their choices or “toxic” friends who “try to steal your joy.” When this comes up, the most prevalent advice is to pray for the other person.

Now, I wholeheartedly agree that praying for someone who makes life miserable is a great idea. What troubles me is that often, not always, someone points out that by praying for our enemies we are “heaping coals of fire on their heads.”

This strikes me as a patently unChristian thing to do. These women seem to be advocating spiritual torture for our enemies rather than the love that Christ asks us to show even to those who persecute us.

Are there any Protestants willing to explain this peculiarity? It just troubles me to see good Christians encouraging other Christians that bringing pain to others will alleviate their own suffering.


#2

A Protestant is not really needed to explain this.

These particular women are unhappy and petty.

Women, in general, are less happy than men. Women will generally be offended by some slight that a man would never even notice. And women generally like to talk everything to death.
Women, in general, have a lot “problems” that men just don’t understand. That is because men don’t see these “problems” as problems. Of course sometimes, the problems are real, such as the so-called man they are living with. But, other times the problems are not really problems at all.


#3

[quote=Chris Jacobsen]A Protestant is not really needed to explain this.

These particular women are unhappy and petty.

Women, in general, are less happy than men. Women will generally be offended by some slight that a man would never even notice. And women generally like to talk everything to death.
Women, in general, have a lot “problems” that men just don’t understand. That is because men don’t see these “problems” as problems. Of course sometimes, the problems are real, such as the so-called man they are living with. But, other times the problems are not really problems at all.
[/quote]

I respectfully disagree with you. I have known a few miserable men in my life, and believe me, when men get miserable, they get miserable. I think we all have the capacity to be as happy as the
next person. Whether men are biologically happier than women
for me, remains to be seen. I’d need scientific evidence to back it up. I’ve also seen men and heard men that talk far more than I ever have. I do talk alot. That’s a fact. While it is true that women can be offended by a slight more so than a man, it is because our emotional make up is different than that of a man. However, it does not mean we are not as happy as men are. As I said, I’d need scientific evidence to have it proven to me. :thumbsup:


#4

Chris, this is not a question of man vs. woman. This is a question of the distinction between praying in love for people who have hurt us vs. praying in retaliation for them.

Not one place in my original post did I mention men. Men are not the topic of my question, nor have they been the topic in the other forum. If you need clarification, most often the enemy in question is an extended family member who disagrees with the choice to home school. I was asking a question about a practice I have noticed Protestants engaging in.

The original question still stands: why would a Christian want to suggest that by praying for our enemies we are “heaping coals of fire on their heads” instead of asking God to grant graces to all involved in the altercation?


#5

Loren,

This has nothing to do with being a Protestant or any other religion. People, no matter what their religious affiliation can have the same problems. It has a lot to do with a people’s attitudes towards one another. And some people more easily take offense at what other people say and do, than what a normal, well adjusted person would do.

(You, by the way, mentioned that these particular people are women.)


#6

You’re right, I did say that the poeple involved are women. But I still don’t see how a question about prayer can be answered by a mini rant on the pettiness of women.

Why is it a good thing to burn heads when Jesus the Christ has told us to love our enemies?


#7

[quote=Loren 1of6]I frequent a home school message board that is very Christian, peopled with many devout women. Most of the ladies are Protestants. I have noticed a trend that disturbs me, but since that is a board dedicated to home schooling it is not the place to ask my question. This seems like a much better-suited forum.

Members will occasionally post about problems they are having with other individuals, usually family members who disagree with their choices or “toxic” friends who “try to steal your joy.” When this comes up, the most prevalent advice is to pray for the other person.

Now, I wholeheartedly agree that praying for someone who makes life miserable is a great idea. What troubles me is that often, not always, someone points out that by praying for our enemies we are “heaping coals of fire on their heads.”

This strikes me as a patently unChristian thing to do. These women seem to be advocating spiritual torture for our enemies rather than the love that Christ asks us to show even to those who persecute us.

Are there any Protestants willing to explain this peculiarity? It just troubles me to see good Christians encouraging other Christians that bringing pain to others will alleviate their own suffering.
[/quote]

Excellent question and when one digs its rather interesting

66.94.231.168/search/cache?fr=slv1-adbe&p=heaping+coals+of+fire+on+their+heads&u=hellbusters.8m.com/mbpgcoals.htm&w=heaping+coals+fire+heads&d=W5ym421aMUYi&icp=1&.intl=ca

Its really pileing love on your ememies head, I did it once with a man at work (shipper/reciever) who used to yell at me. I just kept being real nice to him and eventually he was won over and we became very pleasent co workers !

Those ladies are actually doing exactly what we should all do :slight_smile:


#8

So, Kitty, what you’re saying is that these ladies are not advocating torture, but encouraging one another to respond with a heart-warming love. That I can agree with.

But your story of little Abraham and his friends seems so frivolous and possibly even made up simply to address questions like mine. Surely the Isrealites knew how to bank a fire so that they could get it burning quickly in the morning.


#9

well I knew the meaning and was looking for “backup” that ole accountability thing with us non catholics. I found at least 8 sites with scripture agreeing with what I thought. I only picked this one as I thought the story was good. Plus it can be left open to look at the customs of “the day” and check its validity further if one wanted. If anyone finds out anything different then please post but I think this is it. Plus it was my understanding from long ago,but I cant remember when I heard about it.

The story is a interesting lesson on taking care of one another.

btw
I even tried to find something by a specific catholic site but kept getting weird posts that are by creepy catholic (I doubt they are catholic, or even non, just left field) or hating catholic sites. The internet can be strange sometimes.


#10

This is taken from Proverbs 25:21-22 “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”

Kind of a “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” thing.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon14.gif


#11

isn’t it “heaping coals on their head” supposed to embarrass them to realize what the “enemy” is doing wrong so he/she can repent? not because they are “petty protestants”?


#12

I don’t know why we would be encouraged to heap coals on peoples’ heads. It is something I have heard Protestants say, so I was wondering if any Protestants could help me understand the meaning of the phrase.

I have felt that this would be tatamount to spiritual torture, but Kitty and Marquette are saying that the purpose is to warm the hearts of our enemies so that they will turn from their wicked ways.

I still don’t get it, since it does sound petty and vindictive, but thanks for trying.


#13

You may be trying to understand a phrase that has been conveniently adapted from the original inspired Bible Scripture’s Truth. Why not simply accept the bible verse as it is, not some possible contortion. That way you would not have to deal with something you feel is a “petty and vindictive” application of the phrase.

 It has always been a profound blessing to know we do not have to judge or even understand other people or their "phrases".  Our Creator does that.
 The Truth in Scripture, like prayer and Love are Eternal and 

outside timelines. Prayer helps your Soul to be like the perfect Spirit God infused into you at conception. It helps your Soul in many ways to be like your perfect Spirit. Categorizing or labeling someone an “enemy” is time probably better spent in prayer with your Creator.


#14

Had to suppress a laugh of cultural recognition. I have one or two friends who are northern transplants who’ve been told “I’m praying for you,” and are genuinely touched. I’ve never had the heart to tell them that when a Southern lady tells you “I’m praying for you,” the near-universal implication is “God knows, you need it.” As a slur, it’s just one notch below the feared, the dreaded “bless your heart.” Vive la difference!


#15

[quote=Loren 1of6]The original question still stands: why would a Christian want to suggest that by praying for our enemies we are “heaping coals of fire on their heads” instead of asking God to grant graces to all involved in the altercation?
[/quote]

I will share something with you that may help you understand.

Once there was a woman who told a bunch of lies about me. (It was actually more than just lies, there was a confrontation with her and then her husband who confronted me with “the horrible” thing I had done to her son, all of which were lies.) The person who she told them to, did not know either of us, and honestly did not know who to believe. (It was in kids sports, couldn’t just walk away since I had agreed to help the team and did not want to yank my kid who was blessfully unaware of what was happening)

This woman was very vindictive and went out of her way to talk about me and make fun of me in any way. I can’t really express the depth of persecustion from this woman here. But there was a tremendous amount of stress and tears over her actions, words and just plain HATE the eminated from her. (I used to refer to her as the demon possessed woman to my husband. It became a joke of sorts, but to this day I truly believe she very well may have been just an evil and/or possessed person.)

One day, I was reading the Bible in Psalms. In it, it David praying for God to smite his enemies and for David to eventually be victorious. This is how I felt. *It is basically a feeling of not hoping someone will go to hell, but if they don’t repent, you want to see them thrown in the pit? *By praying for them, by asking God to have others see the truth, we can heal ourselves of the anger that comes from their persecutions.

Even as I write this, I look at it and say “wow, how could anyone want to watch someone get thrown in the pit of hell?” But the truth is, that is exactly how I felt. And it was through reading Psalms that I found comfort in praying for my enemies knowing that either they would come to realize the wrong they had done, or that God would take care of things. I could let it go.

Thankfully, I have never had something of this level of actual hatred leveled against me since, and I sometimes have a hard time truly even understanding why I could let myself get knotted up over this, but then recall the daily persecutions and hatred poured out on me by this woman and go “Oh yeah”

I hope this can help.

If you still can’t understand, read some of the Psalms. I think they are very good at helping us take our anger and hand it over to God.

God Bless,
Maria


#16

i agree…the sentence these women quote is positive…just don’t take it literally ( coal , burning, their head ecc)…i think it is somekind related to “turn the other cheek”…i believe that when you “turn the other cheek”, the person who offended you will feel “coal burning on their head”…that is, turning the other cheek does not mean passiveness…in fact it is very active coz it will change the other person’s heart and mind.


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