Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Loving my brother

Because Christ stands between me and others, I dare not desire direct fellowship with them.*

Bonhoeffer reminds me a little bit of Oswald Chambers in that when I first read something he wrote, I think, "What is he talking about?" And I have to meditate on it a little bit in order to decide whether I agree or not.

More of the passage (with added spacing and emphasis):

"As only Christ can speak to me in such a way that I may be saved, so others, too, can be saved only by Christ himself. This means that I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce, and dominate him with my love. The other person needs to retain his independence of me; to be loved for what he is, as one for whom Christ became man, died, and rose again, for whom Christ bought forgiveness of sins and eternal life. 

Because Christ has long since acted decisively for my brother, before I could begin to act, I must leave him his freedom to be Christ’s; I must meet him only as the person that he already is in Christ’s eyes. This is the meaning of the proposition that we can meet others only through the mediation of Christ.

Human love constructs its own image of the other person, of what he is and what he should become. It takes the life of the other person into its own hands.

Spiritual love recognizes the true image of the other person which he has received from Jesus Christ; the image that Jesus Christ himself embodied and would stamp upon all men."
-*Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, “Life Together,” pp.35-36


  1. Thanks for sharing that. For some reason it reminds me of the old-fashioned Catholic idea of the need to stay "disinterested". That always sounded awful to me until I tried to put myself into the original meaning of the word - that we keep enough personal distance from others that we are not leaning on them in an unhealthy way, or trying to impact them in an unhealthy way - that unhealthy way, I suppose, being WITHOUT Christ in the middle.

    Every so often I get a vision of Christian Community - the Church - as a sort of stew with all of us immersed and completely surrounded by the Holy Spirit, so that it is the Spirit "binding us together" like sauce would "bind together" elements of a stew. OK.....I have to admit I am sometimes too visual for my own good, but if I can't come up with humble imagery I have such a hard time understanding complex thoughts (or, perhaps that just means I CAN'T understand complex thoughts!)

  2. Мне кажется, эти размышления Бонхёффера вполне актуальны для нашей церкви. :)
    Спасибо, что напомнила эти тексты.

  3. Annie, I like your imagery! Spoken like a teacher! :)

    Андрей, я думаю, вся книга актуальна для нашей церкви. :)


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