Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged in a concentration camp in 1945 for his involvement in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
When Germany was ensnared in the bestial trap of Nazism, few had the grit and resolution to stand up against it, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of them. Known for his inspirational writings on ethics and theological work, Bonhoeffer turned into an active opposer to the depravity that had got the better of Europe.
A pacifist theologian, Bonhoeffer sought to apply the teachings of Christianity and ethics during the days of the Third Reich. His explicit denunciation against the horrible persecution of Jews put him at odds with Hitler.
Nonetheless, he walked on the path that he deemed was morally correct and responsible and continued to work intensively on ecumenical movements, for he had truly understood the cost of true fellowship and was ready to follow it, till the end.
Quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"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."
"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."
"The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children."
"Music... will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you."
"If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction."
"Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility."
"There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler."
"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."
"Human love has little regard for the truth. It makes the truth relative, since nothing, not even the truth, must come between it and the beloved person."
"Absolute seriousness is never without a dash of humor."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes from Life Together
"We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts."
"I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me."
"Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one's community back from the path of sin."
"God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth."
"We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions."
"The early morning belongs to the Church of the risen Christ. At the break of light it remembers the morning on which death and sin lay prostrate in defeat and new life and salvation were given to mankind."
"The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community."
"If my sinfulness appears to me in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all."
"The fact that we do not speak it but sing it only expresses the fact that our spoken words are inadequate to express what we want to say, that the burden of our song goes far beyond all human words."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes from The Cost of Discipleship
"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."
"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."
"When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh."
"Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Christ."
"Not hero worship, but intimacy with Christ."
"The will of God, to which the law gives expression, is that men should defeat their enemies by loving them."
"The Christian must treat his enemy as a brother, and requite his hostility with love. His behavior must be determined not by the way others treat him, but by the treatment he himself receives from Jesus; it has only one source, and that is the will of Jesus."
"No sacrifice which a lover would make for his beloved is too great for us to make for our enemy."
"Any honours that come our way are only stolen from him to whom alone they really belong, the Lord who sent us."
"Love, in the sense of spontaneous, unreflective action, spells the death of the old man."
"Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian's life."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes from Letters and Papers from Prison
"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."
"It is not your love that sustains the marriage,
but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love."
"Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; he waited until one of them turned to him."
"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."
"When we come to a clearer and more sober estimate of our own limitations and responsibilities, that makes it possible more genuinely to love our neighbor."
"Every wedding must be an occasion of joy that human beings can do such great things, that they have been given such immense freedom and power to take the helm in their life's journey..."
"In short, it is much easier to see a thing through from the point of view of abstract principle than from that of concrete responsibility."
"In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don't insist on your rights, don't blame each other, don't judge or condemn each other, don't find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts..."
"Time is the most valuable thing that we have, because it is the most irrevocable."
"The 'polymath' had already died out by the close of the eighteenth century, and in the following century intensive education replaced extensive, so that by the end of it the specialist had evolved. The consequence is that today everyone is a mere technician, even the artist..."
"May God in his mercy lead us through these times; but above all, may he lead us to himself."