Lessons from Dietrich

Sometimes I’m tempted to read the beatitudes like a check-list.

Meek?  Yeah, I think I do okay there.

Merciful?  Sure.  I have kids, ya know?  I’m forced to show mercy every day.

Pure in heart?  Uh…I try…

Peacemaker?  I hate confrontation.  I’m totally a peacemaker!

Then something will happen that will force me to take an honest look at myself, to really evaluate my thoughts and actions.  You know what?  It’s ugly, folks.  It’s really ugly.

When I define peacemaking as not having punched anyone, I’ll score an A+ every time.  When  I define it like Dietrich Bonhoeffer does, however, I deserve a big fat F.

Bonhoeffer says,  “His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would break if off. They renounce all self-assertion, and quietly suffer in the face of hatred and wrong. In so doing they overcome evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate.”

Can I just say that is so not me?  It was depressing to read this and find that I could be failing to act as a peacemaker even if I had no social interaction today.  By breaking off fellowship, by avoiding certain people so that I can avoid pain, I am not acting as a peacemaker. 

I feel the need to clarify and say that I’m talking to myself only here.  There are definitely situations where I feel that the best (and safest) course is to avoid abusive relationships.  In my specific situation, however, where the only things at risk are my pride and feelings, I feel that I need to do some soul searching and pride swallowing.

 That’s tough to do.  It’s easier to justify myself.  It makes me feel holy.  It’s more pleasant to focus on how someone else has hurt me.  It makes me feel righteous.  But that kind of holiness is really “holier than thou-ness.”  And that kind of righteousness is self-righteousness.  When I look at how I’ve embraced those two in this situation, it makes me sick. 

Thanks, Bonhoeffer, for smacking me upside the head.  You’re pretty cool.  For a dead dude.


~ by NinjaPrincess on May 20, 2010.

One Response to “Lessons from Dietrich”

  1. This reminds me of what I learned a while ago – there is a BIG difference between being a peaceKEEPER and being a peaceMAKER. The latter implies more action.
    Thanks again for posting this quote on my FB – it helped!

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