Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bonhoeffer: "By Willing Endurance We Cause Suffering to Pass

Here is yet another quote from German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His book, "The Cost of Discipleship" is a classic for good reason. This Sunday we'll be studying Matthew 5:38-42 regarding retaliation. Bonhoeffer makes some good points about why we as Christians refuse to retailate, but instead go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, and give our coat also.

By willing endurance we cause suffering to pass. Evil becomes a spent force when we put up no resistance. By refusing to pay back the enemy in how own coin, and by preferring to suffer without resistance, the Christian exhibits the sinfulness of contumely and insult. Violence stands condemned by its failure to evoke counter-violence. When a man unjustly demands that I should give him my coat, I offer him my cloak also, and so counter his demand; when he requires me to go the other mile, I go willingly, and show up his exploitation of my service for what it is. To leave everything behind at the call of Christ is to be content with him alone, and to follow only him. By his willingly renouncing self-defense, the Christian affirms his absolute adherence to Jesus, and his freedom from the tyranny of his own ego. The exclusiveness of this adherence is the only power which can overcome evil. -142

For more:
Free Book!: Bonhoeffer's "Cost of Discipleship"
Weekly Recommendation: "The Cost of Discipleship"
Bonhoeffer: Truth and the Cross

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