10 Quotes: Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christian fellowship is wrought with trials and temptations, but though it is strenuous it is also sweet and essential to life in Christ. Whether you’re actively involved in a church, keep at its fringes, or remain uncommitted, Life Together will hit you with the intensity of a bucket of ice poured down your back. It will wake you up. Here are 10 of my favorite quotes:

  1. When we received forgiveness instead of judgment, we, too, were made ready to forgive the brethren. What God did to us, we then owed to others. The more we received, the more we were able to give; and the more meager our brotherly love, the less were we living by God’s mercy and love. (25)
  2. The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us. (26)
  3. Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. (27)
  4. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair. (78)
  5. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother 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 in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others. (86)
  6. The individual must realize that his hours of aloneness react upon the community. In his solitude he can sunder and besmirch the fellowship, or he can strengthen and hallow it. (88)
  7. We are members of a body, not only when we choose to be, but in our whole existence. Every member serves the whole body, either to its health or to its detriment. (89)
  8. Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exists without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship. (94)
  9. Only where hands are not too good for deeds of love and mercy in everyday helpfulness can the mouth joyfully and convincingly proclaim the message of God’s love and mercy. (100)
  10. Nothing can be more cruel than the tenderness that consigns another to his sin. Nothing can be more compassionate the the severe rebuke that calls a brother back from the path of sin. (107)

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