10 Bonhoeffer Quotes

On this day, 70 years ago, three weeks before the death of Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed in a Nazi concentration camp.  Despite his parents hopes for their sixth child, Bonhoeffer went into ministry, where he became one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. In the midst of his circumstances, Bonhoeffer carried out his understanding of what it costs to be a disciple, which he so famously wrote about. He was a man of great conviction, willing to suffer for his people and for God. Even 70 years later, his life challenges us to follow God even through adversity, seek justice even when it is not popular, and to care for the oppressed. Here are ten of his quotes for you to remember on this day:

“When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

“God does not love some ideal person, but rather human beings just as we are, not some ideal world, but rather the real world.”

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.”

“It is only because he became like us that we can become like him.”

“To be silent does not mean to be inactive; rather it means to breathe in the will of God, to listen attentively and be ready to obey.”

“When we come to a clearer and more sober estimate of our own limitations and responsibilities, that makes it possible more genuinely to love our neighbor.”

“I can no longer condemn or hate a brother [or sister] for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me is transformed through intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died.”

“Which of us has really admitted that God’s goodness can also lead us into conflict.”

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