Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, expert of theology and one of the founders of the Confessing Church who is however best known for being a fierce anti-Nazi activist.
His book ‘The Cost of Discipleship’, written in 1937, is considered among the most important books of the time and is still regarded as a classic. Famous Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes will touch your soul, brighten up your life and bring best out of you.
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Famous Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
God loves human beings. God loves the world. Not an ideal human, but human beings as they are; not an ideal world, but the real world. What we find repulsive in their opposition to God, what we shrink back from with pain and hostility… this is for God the ground of unfathomable love.
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.
Christianity preaches the infinite worth of that which is seemingly worthless and the infinite worthlessness of that which is seemingly so valued.
The first service one owes to others in a community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives God’s Word but also lends us God’s ear. . . . We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them.”
The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts. For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life on the Bible, it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil.
May we be enabled to say ‘No’ to sin and ‘Yes’ to the sinner.
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.
There remains an experience of incomparable value. We have for once learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcasts, the suspects, the maltreated – in short, from the perspective of those who suffer. Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior. Christians are called to compassion and to action.
Nothing that we despise in other men is inherently absent from ourselves. We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or don’t do, and more in light of what they suffer.
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.
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.
In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things the figure of Him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger and is at best the object of pity. . . . The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought that takes success for its standard.
We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.
The Church is the Church only when it exists for others . . . not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.
The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.
By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.
Seek God, not happiness – this is the fundamental rule of all meditation. If you seek God alone, you will gain happiness: that is its promise.
Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.
There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler.
We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?”
I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment, that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world. That, I think, is faith.
The blessedness of waiting is lost on those who cannot wait, and the fulfillment of promise is never theirs. They want quick answers to the deepest questions of life and miss the value of those times of anxious waiting, seeking with patient uncertainties until the answers come. They lose the moment when the answers are revealed in dazzling clarity.
I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me.
Inspirational Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
One act of obedience is worth a hundred sermons.
The awareness of a spiritual tradition that reaches through the centuries gives one a certain feeling of security in the face of all transitory difficulties.
The Church is the Church only when it exists for others…not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.
It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.
If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. … How can I possibly serve another person in unfeigned humility if I seriously regard his sinfulness as worse than my own?
The community of the saints is not an ‘ideal’ community consisting of perfect and sinless men and women, where there is no need of further repentance. No, it is a community which proves that it is worthy of the gospel of forgiveness by constantly and sincerely proclaiming God’s forgiveness.
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.
While we exert ourselves to grow beyond our humanity, to leave the human behind us, God becomes human; and we must recognize that God wills that we be human, real human beings. While we distinguish between pious and godless, good and evil, noble and base, God loves real people without distinction.