Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor in the first half of the 20th century. He was a sound theologian, author, and known for his resistance to Nazi dictatorship.
He saw a lot of injustice and wickedness, even as its victim himself. And he sought to connect it all to God.
So I leave you with a quote of his today that helped me think through the injustices of our land, the wickedness we see, and those who are victimized by it.
I am particularly interested in God’s role, as Bonhoeffer explains:
The great masquerade of evil muddles every concept of ethics. Evil appears in the form of light, as good works—even as an historical necessity—or as justice, and utterly confuses one who comes from the traditional world of ethical ideas. For the Christian who lives by the Bible, however, these forms of evil simply confirm its abysmal wickedness. Who is able to withstand this evil? Only he to whom the last measure is not his own reason, his principles, his freedom or even his conscience—but rather his readiness to sacrifice all of these: only he who is called to deeds of obedience and responsibility in faith and single-minded communion with God; only he who will let his life become nothing, as answer to God’s request or call.
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison (Touchstone, 1997), 4.)
So, the answer to injustice may be closer to God than our world realizes. Do you see this?
If I am willing to let my life “become nothing” then I will better able to see injustice the way God sees it. If I am willing to put aside my idea of injustice, then God’s standards will be clearer to me. If I can lay aside my solutions and trust in God’s higher ways, they may come to be—through me.
Jesus once said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
This is the “readiness to sacrifice” that Bonhoeffer preaches. So to handle the wickedness, the injustice, let go of what you want as justice and be willing to see the mercy and justice of Jesus. And his cross, the greatest injustice of all.
Follow him. Trust him. Let him lead the way.
Dear Jesus, evil is all around. Injustice prevails. I hurt for its victims. Help us. Help us trust you so much more that we can let go of our own ideas of justice. Then open our eyes and hearts to see yours. And walk in them. Amen.
Slow down, use the PRAY acronym. Pray about the quote above.
- Praise (tell God what you appreciate about him)
- Repent (tell God about your sins, trust in his promises of forgiveness)
- Ask (go ahead, think big, or focus on a small detail, God wants to hear it all)
- Yield (talk to God about the next step after you say “Amen,” how you want faith to lead the way, how you are willing to be part of his answer and see it develop for your good)