Danke, Herr Bonhoeffer

Nothing like tears and recrimination, reflection and repentance to bring home a lesson from a required reading:

“Without Christ we should not know God … But without Christ we would also not know our brother. The way is blocked by our own ego.” What this means is that even though I may be in physical and even relational proximity to my fellow believer, there is an inward barrier that keeps us apart. I am too worried about my own ego, how I appear to him, what he must think of me and so on to ever really know him or be truly known by him. I keep tripping over my ego. But the picture is completely different when I am with my brother and consciously recognize the presence of Christ.

When I sense a brother’s criticism, contempt or rejection, it does not have to hit me directly. Christ stands between us. He put this relationship together and absorbs my brother’s criticism of me, When I become critical of my brother and find myself filled with accusation and anger, Christ confronts me and reminds me that he is the advocate for my brother. He commands me to pour my anger and accusation not on my brother but on his own head. He absorbs my criticisms of my brother and shields my brother’s criticisms of me. No matter how deserved such criticism of one another may be, they are distorted criticisms if they leave Christ out of the equation.

(From “A Vision for Fellowship: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Principles of Christian Community” in Ten Great Ideas from Church History by Mark Shaw)

Inspired by KC (and all my teachers and schoolmates, who are of such calibre and passion that I’d hardly dared to hope to encounter folks like them) to fearlessly die to self — to consider myself dead — and seek pure obedience to our Father’s will, trusting in Him to reveal His heart in ways I understand.

I love You, Lord! Help me truly love my neighbour as myself.


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