Blessed Are the Merciful by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ These men without possessions or power, these strangers on Earth, these sinners, these followers of Jesus, have in their life with him renounced their own dignity, for they are merciful. As if their own needs and their own distress were not enough, they take upon themselves the distress and humiliation of others. They have an irresistible love for the down-trodden, the sick, the wretched, the wronged, the outcast and all who are tortured with anxiety. They go out and seek all who are enmeshed in the toils of sin and guilt. No distress is too great, no sin too appalling for their pity. If any man falls into disgrace, the merciful will sacrifice their own honour to shield him, and take his shame upon themselves.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

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4 thoughts on “Blessed Are the Merciful by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  1. Oh, to be one of Christ’s in this way.

    In this development of one of the Beatitudes, Bonhoeffer has fleshed out for us something that we have read and heard many times, but of which we have failed to grasp the fullest meaning.

    I may recollect times when I have “shown mercy” and so think myself a merciful person. I believe I am one of Christ’s in this way. But my eyes are opened to something more from Bonhoeffer’s amplification on these nine words.

    It’s more than being one of Christ’s; it’s being LIKE Christ. “Oh, Lord, is that what you are asking of me?”

    We know that His answer is a resounding “Yes.” That is the very Cost of Discipleship. I am searching my heart; I am asking God to search it, to strengthen in me “the mind of Christ,” with an increasing willingness to consider the cost and to desire nothing short of his will in my heart and life. This will require His mercy toward me every day until I reach heaven’s shore.

    Thanks be to God for Jesus, our perfect example in all things.

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  2. I think it’s even more than being like Christ, it is letting Christ live in us. In the book of Galatians Paul says,” I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” And John the Baptist said, he must decrease so that Jesus could increase. These are really hard things to contemplate, much less achieve in this life, but it’s a worthy goal, trying to allow my life to be more Christ’s than mine.

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