“It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community
“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community… Let him who is not in community beware of being alone… Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
How does love become unconquerable? By never asking what the enemy is doing to it, and only asking what Jesus has done. Loving one’s enemies leads disciples to the way of the cross and into communion with the crucified one. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Lord, I confess I all too often want my enemies crushed… and hoping to be there when you do it. But it is not my enemies who need that crushing. It is me. I need that work of the cross that is so thorough, I learn to bless and not curse. Let me not focus on what those who oppose beleif think. Rather, fill my mind with your thoughts… your glory. Lead me to the cross.
It turns out Jesus really means it when he says to folllow him! Not just when it is convenient, but when it is hard. It is ot just about blessing friends.. but blessing enemies as well.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Where in the world is there greater need, where are deeper wounds and pain than those of our enemies? Where is doing good more necessary and more blessed than for our enemies?
Lord, you call us to the hard places because that is the place of your race and power. Lead us where YOU are glorified!
These words may have truth, but in our day they seem to be incredibly strange:
When another Christian falls into obvious sin, an admonition is imperative, because God’s Word demands it. The practice of discipline in the community of faith begins with friends who are close to one another. Words of admonition and reproach must be risked when a lapse from God’s Word in doctrine or life endangers a community that lives together, and with it the whole community of faith. Nothing can be more cruel than that leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than that severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin. When we allow nothing but God’s Word to stand between us, judging and helping, it is a service of mercy, an ultimate offer of genuine community. Then it is not we who are judging; God alone judges, and God’s judgment is helpful and healing.
“Well… what is sin?”
“Well… who are YOU to judge?”
The way to wholeness and healing is to recognize there is a sickness. We need that calling out in our lives once again.
Every act of self-discipline by a Christian is also a service to the community. Conversely, there is no sin in thought, word, or deed, no matter how personal or secret, that does not harm the whole community. When the cause of an illness gets into one’s body, whether or not anyone knows where it comes from, or in what member it has lodged, the body is made ill. This is the appropriate metaphor for the Christian community. Every member serves the whole body, contributing either to its health or to its ruin, for we are members of one body not only when we want to be, but in our whole existence. This is not a theory, but a spiritual reality that is often experienced in the Christian community with shocking clarity, sometimes destructively and sometimes beneficially. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Rom. 12:4-5)