Isaiah is the most important prophet for the Hebrew people. His words were poetry and visions, hammers and chisels. God spoke through him for about forty years. Through Isaiah’s mouth came a poetic banner of God’s holiness. Yet, when he was in the presence of God he cried out that he was ruined because of his unclean lips. Apparently being in the presence of God makes you aware of your sin.
‘I’m as good as dead! Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted— blasphemous even!’ -Isaiah 6:5
In all that God said through Isaiah’s mouth, Isaiah was still a man who, in the presence of God, saw that he had unclean lips.
According to Matthew 5, we’re supposed to pray for our enemies. In the reality of the Christian sub-culture, our ‘enemies’ are often other believers. If another Christian is hurting you, condemning you or excluding you, then pray for them.
Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:20 and Proverbs 25: 21-22 talk about praying for and showing kindness to your enemies. According to these scriptures, your response to them will ‘heap burning coals on their head.’ I don’t care how much I want someone to pay for the hurt they caused, I can’t say that I want them to experience that kind of torture.
However, if you consider Isaiah in the presence of God, he saw his error and begged to be cleansed. When I pray for my ‘enemies’, I pray that God reveals himself.
‘Then one of the angel-seraphs flew to me. He held a live coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal…’ -Isaiah 6:6-7
He was cleansed with burning coal.
The purpose for praying for and showing kindness to your enemy is so they can be in the presence of God. If Isaiah is any hint of what being in the presence of God is like, then no man can stand. He will ask to be cleansed and God will heap burning coals.
If you want someone to see the error of their ways, then love them. God changes people through love. He saved the world through love. God is love.
When they have been cleansed, you’ve made a friend (Matthew 18:15). Together whole and healed (James 5:16). That has been the goal from the beginning (John 17:20).
“Look. This coal has touched your lips. Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out.” -Isaiah 6:7