I've always loved this passage. It reminds me of a friend of mine who died of lung cancer 3 1/2 years ago. She was a great lady from St. Louis. She was the kind of woman with a big heart and an even bigger personality. This passage was really her Mantra in life - to love everyone, to appreciate everyone's gifts and to try to be a friend to everyone. She also was very astute in recognizing when her attempts at kindness were either not received or being returned with anger and bitterness. She never let that swayed her. She held fast and was kind anyway.
While for some of us, kindness in the face of adversity isn't easy, for my friend, Nancy, it was. Not because she was a holier than thou kind of woman, she was anything but. It was easy for her to be kind and extend love to everyone because she really focused on the end of this passage - the last three verses say "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ 20No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Nancy understood that the best revenge is really kindness and extending love to those who are the most difficult. She found satisfaction in heaping burning coals on their heads and leaving vengence to God. She trusted that God would handle everything, so we didn't have to - it was much better than getting all jetted up and angry at the injustices we sometimes face. Trust God to handle it, Nancy always said - after all God is God and He can handle it much better than we can.