Monday, January 23, 2017

Bonhoeffer On the Ministry of Proclaiming

Continuing on with another quote from Bonhoeffer's book Life Together:
The more we learn to allow others to speak the word to us, to accept humbly and gratefully even severe reproaches and admonitions, the more free and objective we will be in speaking ourselves. The person who's touchiness and vanity make him sperm a Brothers Earnest since you cannot speak the truth and humility to others, he's afraid of being rebuffed and of feeling that he has been aggrieved. The touchy person will always become a flatterer and very soon he will come to despise and slander his brother. But the humble person will stick both to truth and to love. He will stick to the word of God and let it lead him to his brother. Because he seeks nothing for himself and has no fears for himself, he can help his brother through the word.
Reproof is unavoidable. God's word demands it when a brother falls into open send. The practice of discipline in the congregation begins in the smallest circles. Where did affection from God's word and Doctrine or life and perils the family fellowship and with it the whole congregation, the word of admonition and rebuke must be ventured. Nothing can be more cruel than the tenderness that consigns another to his sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe rebuke that cause a brother back from the path of sin. It is a Ministry of mercy, and ultimate offer a genuine Fellowship, when we allowed nothing but God's word to stand between us, judging and succoring.
I LOVE how the qualities expressed in these quotes have overlapped: The integrated power of listening, confessing, and proclaiming. To proclaim in a way that others will listen requires humility. To feel that it is safe to confess to another, you need to know that the person will listen. To receive a proclamation, one has to be in tune to the Holy Spirit speaking through it, which requires listening and humility. Christlikeness is required in Christian community to experience it at its fullest. 

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