From “Pulpit Helps”
Published by AMG International
The four of us were new Christians when we ran across the
verse, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him” (Romans
12:20 RSV) during our family Bible reading.
Our sons, seven and ten 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 learn why by experience.
Day after day, John Jr. came home from school complaining
about the classmate who sat behind him in fifth grade. “Bob
keeps jabbing me when Miss Smith isn’t looking. One
of these days, when we’re out on the playground, 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 had better give
her an oral jab too at the same time!
I was still stewing and fuming over this injustice to John
Jr. when his seven year old brother spoke up: “Maybe
he should feed his enemy.”
The three of us were startled.
None of us was sure about this “enemy” business.
It did not seem that an enemy would be in the fifth grade.
An enemy was someone who was way off . . . well, somewhere.
(Exactly where, however, remained a bit vague.)
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 given before: “Because
God says so.”
“Well, if God says so, you had better do it,”
I told John Jr. “Do you know what Bob likes to eat?
If you are going to feed him, you may as well give him something
Our oldest son thought for a moment. “Jelly Beans!”
he shouted. Bob just loves jelly beans!”
So we bought a bag of jelly beans for him to take to school
the next day. We would see whether or not enemy-feeding worked.
That night we discussed the strategy to be used. When Bob
jabbed John Jr. in the back next time, John would simply turn
around and deposit the bag of jelly beans on his enemy’s
The next afternoon I watched and waited impatiently for the
yellow school bus to pull up, then dashed to meet the boys
before they got even halfway to the house.
John Jr. called ahead, “It worked, Mom! It worked.”
His little brother claimed responsibility, “Hey, remember
it was me who thought it up.”
“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!”
Well, it wasn’t long before John Jr. and Bob became
the best of friends – all because of a little bag of
Both our sons subsequently became missionaries on foreign
fields. Their way to show 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
It seems “enemies” are always hungry. Maybe that’s
why God said to feed them.