bonhoeffer 3These people without possessions, these strangers, these powerless, these sinners, these followers of Jesus live with him now also in the renunciation of their own dignity, for they are merciful.

As if their own need and lack were not enough, they share in other people's need, debasement, and guilt. They have an irresistible love for the lowly, the sick, for those who are in misery, for those who are demeaned and abased, for those who suffer injustice and are rejected, for everyone in pain and anxiety. They seek out all those who have fallen into sin and guilt. No need is too great, no sin too dreadful for mercy to reach. The merciful give their own honor to those who have fallen into shame and take that shame unto themselves. They may be found in the company of tax collectors and sinners and willingly bear the shame of their fellowship. Disciples give away anyone's greatest possession, their own dignity and honor, and show mercy. They know only one dignity and honor, the mercy of their Lord, which is their only source of life.

Biblical Wisdom

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." Matthew 5:7

Questions to Ponder

Practically speaking, what does mercy look like? How do merciful people act?
Why is "renunciation of their own dignity" necessary if disciples are to be truly merciful?
How might a church renounce its own dignity in order to be merciful?
How is Jesus our model for renouncing dignity in order to be merciful?
Is there anyone beneath the disciples' mercy? Why, or why not?
Psalm Fragment

They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice. Psalm 112:4-5

Journal Reflections

Write about a time when you extended mercy to someone. How did you feel?
Write about a time when you withheld mercy. How did you feel?
Reflect on the ways in which God is merciful to you.
Intercessions

Think of someone who needs to experience mercy. Pray for them in their need. Ask God what you might do to show them mercy.

Prayer for Today

Lord, may your infinite mercy to me enable me to be truly merciful to all others.

40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.

http://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-day-journey-dietrich-bonhoeffer/2012/06/12

 

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

  • Worry

    Do we trust God to take care of each and every one of our troubles, or do we act like Read More
  • The Beauty of God

    Apocalyptic and the Beauty of God Isaiah 65. 17-25; Revelation 21.9-27 a sermon at Harvard Memorial Church, October 22 2006 Read More
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Music

  • 1

Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Healing Words From A Dialogue With God by Sylvia Gunter +

    ... Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to Read More
  • Fast Of Words - A Different Kind Of Fast by Sylvia Gunter +

    Isaiah 58:10b-12 Time and again God brings me to my knees over my heart attitude expressed out of my mouth. Read More
  • The power of words +

    Our words have the power to bless or curse, to influence for good or for bad. Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • The Narrow Road by Wayne Jacobsen +

    I had just spent the weekend in a country home talking with a group of people about living in the Read More
  • Jacob-a 1994 film +

    Pretty amazing cast that fairly faithfully follows the life of Jacob as represented in the Bible. Matthew Modine as Jacob, Read More
  • A model of persevering: Jacob +

    Jesus directs us to follow him-- Read More
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