Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes About Self

Browse 33 famous quotes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer about Self.

"God has prepared for Himself one great song of praise throughout eternity, and those who enter the community of God join in this song. It is the song that the "morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy" at the creation of the world. (Job 38:7). It is the victory song of the children of Israel after passing through the Red Sea, the Magnificat of Mary after the annunciation, the song of Paul and Silas in the night of prison, the song of the singers on the sea of glass after their rescue, the "song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb" (Rev. 15:3) It is the song of the heavenly fellowship." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"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
"The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"One cannot simply read the Bible, like other books. One must be prepared really to enquire of it. Only thus will it reveal itself. Only if we expect from it the ultimate answer, shall we receive it. That is because in the Bible God speaks to us. And one cannot simply think about God in one's own strength, one has to inquire of him. Only if we seek him, will he answer us." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Human love is directed to the other person for his own sake, spiritual love loves him for Christ's sake. Therefore, human love seeks direct contact with the other person; it loves him not as a free person but as one whom it binds to itself. It wants to gain, to capture by every means; it uses force. It desires to be irresistible, to rule." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"In the New Testament our enemies are those who harbour hostility against us, not those against whom we cherish hostility, for Jesus refuses to reckon with such a possibility. The Christian must treat his enemy as a brother, and requite his hostility with love. His behaviour must be determined not by the way others treat him, but by the treatment he himself receives from Jesus; it has only one source, and that is the will of Jesus." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"If there is no element of asceticism in our lives, if we give free rein to the desires of the flesh (taking care of course to keep within the limits of what seems permissible to the world), we shall find it hard to train for the service of Christ. When the flesh is satisfied it is hard to pray with cheerfulness or to devote oneself to a life of service which calls for much self-renunciation." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Many people seek fellowship because they are afraid to be alone...let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape yourself, for God has singled you out." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us (Mark 15:34).[...] Before God and with him we live without God. God allows himself to be edged out of the world and onto the cross. God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way, in which he can be with us and help us." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; he waited until one of them turned to him." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"But it is a dangerous error, surely very widespread among Christians, to think that the heart can pray by itself. For then we confuse wishes, hopes, sighs, laments, rejoicings–all of which the heart can do by itself–with prayer. And we confuse earth and heaven, man and God. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one's heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty. No man can do that by himself. For that he needs Jesus Christ." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"They get married, but their marriage will look quite different from marriage as the world understands it. Christian marriage will be undertaken "in the Lord" (I Cor. 7.39). It will be sanctified in the service of the Body of Christ and in the discipline of prayer and self-control (I Cor. 7.5). It will be a parable of the self-sacrificing love of Christ for his Church. It will even be itself a part of the Body of Christ, a Church in miniature (Eph. 5.32)." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"But the false serpent persuaded Adam that he must still do something to become like God: he must achieve that likeness by deciding and acting for himself. Through this choice Adam rejected the grace of God, choosing his own action. He wanted instead to unravel the mystery of his being for himself, to make himself what God had already made him. That was the Fall of man. Adam became "as God" —sicut deus—in his own way. But now that he had made himself god, he no longer had a God." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Originally man was made in the image of God, but now his likeness to God is a stolen one. As the image of God man draws his life entirely from his origin in God, but the man who has become like God has forgotten how he was at his origin and has made himself his own creator and judge." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"If my sin appears to me to be in any way smaller or less reprehensible in comparison with the sins of others, then I am not yet recognizing my sin at all. My sin is of necessity the worst, the most serious, the most objectionable. Christian love will find any number of excusesfor the sins of others; only for my sin is there no excuse whatsoever. That is why my sin is the worst. Those who would serve others in the community must descend all the way down to this depth of humility. How could I possibly serve other persons in unfeigned humility if their sins appear to me to be seriously worse than my own? If I am to have any hope for them, then I must not raise myself above them. Such service would be a sham. "Do" ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"When a man really gives up trying to make something out of himself—a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman (a so-called clerical somebody), a righteous or unrighteous man,… when in the fullness of tasks, questions, success or ill-hap, experiences and perplexities, a man throws himself into the arms of God… then he wakes with Christ in Gethsemane. That is faith, that is metanoia and it is thus that he becomes a man and Christian." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. In the wilderness God gave Israel the manna every day, and they had no need to worry about food and drink. Indeed, if they kept any of the manna over until the next day, it went bad. In the same way, the disciple must receive his portion from God every day. If he stores it up as a permanent possession, he spoils not only the gift, but himself as well, for he sets his heart on accumulated wealth, and makes it a barrier between himself and God. Where our treasure is, there is our trust, our security, our consolation and our God. Hoarding is idolatry." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself." The disciple must say to himself the same words Peter said of Christ when he denied him: "I know not this man." Self-denial is never just a series of isolated acts of mortification or asceticism. It is not suicide, for there is an element of self-will even in that. To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see only him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us. Once more, all that self denial can say is: "He leads the way, keep close to him." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"The fearful danger of the present time is that above the cry for authority, we forget that man stands alone before the ultimate authority, and that anyone who lays violent hands on man here, is infringing eternal laws, and taking upon himself superhuman authority, which will eventually crush him." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Things do exist that are worth standing up for without compromise. To me it seems that peace and social justice are such things, as is Christ himself." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Not until one person desires to keep his own bread for himself does hunger ensue." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"No one can become a new man except by entering the Church, and becoming a member of the body of Christ. It is impossible to become a new man as a solitary individual. The new man means more than the individual believer after he has been justified and sanctified. It means the Church, the Body of Christ, in fact it means Christ himself." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Gerat will be our astonishment in that day, and we shall then realize that it is not our works which remain, but the work which God has wrought through us in his good time without any effort of will and intention on our part. Once again we simply are to look away from ourselves to him who has himself accomplished all things for us and to follow him." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see only him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"The more we have known of the really good things, the more insipid the thin lemonade of later literature becomes, sometimes almost to the point of making us sick. Do you know a work of literature written in the last, say, fifteen years that you think has any lasting quality? I don't. It is partly idle chatter, partly propaganda, partly self-pitying sentimentality, but there is no insight, no ideas, no clarity, no substance and almost always the language is bad and constrained. On this subject I am quite consciously a laudator temporis acti." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"There is always a danger that in our asceticism we shall be tempted to imitate the sufferings of Christ. This is a pious but godless ambition, for beneath it there always lurks the notion that it is possible for us to step into Christ's shoes and suffer as he did and kill the old Adam. We are then presuming to undertake that bitter work of eternal redemption which Christ himself wrought for us. The motive of asceticism was more limited--to equip us for better service and deeper humiliation." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"The dividing line will run right through the confessing Church. Even if we make the confession of faith, it gives us no title to any special claim upon Jesus. We can never appeal to our confession or be saved simply on the ground that we have made it...The man who says "Lord, Lord" has either called himself to Jesus without the Holy Spirit, or else he has made out of the call of Jesus a personal privilege." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"An image needs a living object, and a copy can only be formed from a model. Either man models himself on the god of his own invention, or the true and living God moulds the human form in his image. There must be a complete transformation, a 'metamorphosis' (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18), if man is to be restored to the image of God." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ. But He bore them as a mother carries her child, as a shepherd enfolds the lost lamb that has been found. God took men upon Himself and they weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with them and they with God. In bearing with men God maintained fellowship with them. It was the law of Christ that was fulfilled in the Cross. And Christians must share in this law." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"A father acts on behalf of his children by working, providing, intervening, struggling, and suffering for them. In so doing, he really stands in their place. He is not an isolated individual, but incorporates the selves of several people in his own self. Every attempt to live as if he were alone is a denial of the fact that he is actually responsible. He cannot escape the responsibility, which is his because he is a father. This reality refutes the fictitious notion that the isolated individual is the agent of all ethical behavior. It is not the isolated individual but the responsible person who is the proper agent to be considered in ethical reflection." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"In confession occurs the breakthrough of the Cross. The root of all sin is pride, superbia. I want to be my own law, I have a right to my self, my hatred and my desires, my life and my death. The mind and flesh of man are set on fire by pride; for it is precisely in his wickedness that man wants to be as God. Confession in the presence of a brother is the profoundest kind of humiliation. It hurts, it cuts a man down, it is a dreadful blow to pride...In the deep mental and physical pain of humiliation before a brother - which means, before God - we experience the Cross of Jesus as our rescue and salvation. The old man dies, but it is God who has conquered him. Now we share in the resurrection of Christ and eternal life." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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