Although loving our enemies is clearly commanded in the Scriptures, it’s easy to walk away from these commands not knowing exactly what to do. Praying for our enemies and not slandering them is certainly a good start, but there must also be additional ways to love our enemies . . . right? Lynn R. Davis’s 51 Ways to Love Your Enemies: How to love others when they are hurting you offers some hope for practical advice within its electronic pages (it’s currently only offered on Kindle).
This booklet wasn’t created through Scriptural exegesis or well-researched theology, but rather was born out of the personal struggles of Davis herself. She said,
I’m writing 51 Ways to Love Your Enemies because I’m going through something painful right this moment. I feel betrayed. My natural instinct is to retaliate and strike back. But God has a better plan . . . I’m sharing my experiences in hopes that you, too, will find the courage to overcome evil by doing good.
Thus, not all 51 ways are overtly Scriptural or even applicable to everyone’s situation, but as Davis put it,
Not all of the items listed are discussed in great detail. I think this book as a work in progress because God is working with me in this area even as I write.
With that being said, there are certainly some gems of practical advice on how to do good to your enemies. For example, she points to things such as politeness, humility, patience, kindness and empathy as being practical ways that we can all extend love to our enemies. And depending on your situation she even suggests things such as “inviting them to an event” or “buying them tickets to a local venue.”
But what makes her book worth looking at is her emphasis on things like compassion, civility, prayer, understanding and forgiveness. She says this about forgiveness,
However wicked the betrayal may be, stop giving in to feelings of resentment toward them and pardon the offense. Stop playing reruns of the day you were betrayed. Your mind is far too precious to allow the sewage of un-forgiveness to stagnate and eventually stink up your life.
If you haven’t spent much time learning how Christ did good to his enemies, than this Kindle book may not be the best place to start. Take a look at the extremely practical advice in How to Overcome Evil by Jay Adams that’s rooted in Romans 12:14-21. But if you approach Davis’s book with a good Scriptural foundation, you place the practical advice of 51 Ways to Love Your Enemies within the proper framework.