how do you just forget about someone you care deeply about? how do you just let go of someone you invested in and genuinely want to show love toward?
:: questions are always the best because initially you don’t know the answer, but in time and pray, God tends to answer them. sometimes by answering the questions directly, but more often than not by showing us that we were asking the wrong questions in the first place.::
The Cocoon Tent:
I want one so bad!
Dear ____, I desperately pray that your heart is set on being revolutionary, uncommonly, not-of-this-earth-ly masculine; a wild and strong man with a remarkable tenderness of heart for anyone who needs an earthly representation of the perfect Father. For young men, for at-risk boys, for old men, for abandoned daughters, for scarred women, for teens, for your coworkers, for your sons and daughters, for me.
We are not from this world. We are agents against brokenness, Ambassadors from a different kingdom. Love is our language, Service is our action, Christ is our King, the Word is our declaration, and this short life here on Earth is our calling.
While in prison, nearing his execution, Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote, “Whoever wishes to take up the problem of a Christian ethic must be confronted at once with a demand that is without parallel. He must at the outset discard as irrelevant the two questions which alone impel him to concern himself with the problem of ethics, ‘How can I be good?’ and “How can I do good?’, and instead of these he must ask the utterly and totally different question ‘What is the will of God?’”(Ethics) Ethics, Bonheoffer’s piece detailing his thoughts on how Christians should seek to do what is right, shows how he wrestled through what to do in the face of evil. Bonheoffer, a native German, pastor, and theology teacher left Germany for America just prior to the break out of World War II. In New York, Bonheoffer was so conflicted of his choice to leave his country that within a week he sailed right back to Germany so that he could share in the trials of his people. Upon returning to Germany, Bonheoffer became heavily involved in undercover counter Nazi agendas, providing ways for Jews to leave the country as well as being involved in plots to force Hitler out of power, which eventually lead to assassination attempts.
The question arises, was it right for Bonheoffer, being a Christian, to attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler? If being right, can be defined as being morally justified, than I believe that Bonheoffer was morally justified in his choice to attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Before I get into the logic behind my conclusion, some light should shed on Bonheoffer’s thinking and quantifiers should be made. Bonheoffer was a man who followed deeply after God, as evidenced by his writings and teaching. There is no doubt in my mind that he was following God’s calling by leaving New York and returning on the last ship to Germany. Bonheoffer was not reckless or flamboyant with his decisions; he sought to find God’s will in what is the right response to the Nazi situation. In his early years, Bonheoffer was a pacifist and actually wrote of his struggle, saying that he believed that killing was not morally right, but in this case it was morally justified. One quantifier should be made for this argument, I am assuming that Bonheoffer and those involved in the attempt pursued other options and came the point where they believed there were only two options, doing nothing or kill Hitler. Considering the political and military forces Hitler had, it seemed impossible to orchestrate a capture or revolt. Thus the dire circumstances dictated dire measures.
When making ethical decisions, I like to think of the framework upon which to make decisions is based on the ‘higher-calling’ of the situation. Essentially, the ethical philosophy I use is somewhere between moral realism and moral absolutism. There are absolute principals that have to be held to, but they are than applied differently in different situations. This ethical theory has been best attributed to William David Ross. Ross states that there is a set of universal valid moral principles such as truth telling, integrity, the protection of human life, etc., which have differing weight in different circumstances.
Bonheoffer seemed to support this viewpoint based upon his actions as well as the influence Barth theology had on him. Barth stated that man cannot understand or reach God – no creature can make God known, only God can reveal Himself to us. Thus, according to Barth, in order to act ethically, one has to be in communion with Christ. For Christians, right and wrong is only known through and in Christ and ethical decisions are only made as an act of faith. Barth’s theology had a major influence on Bonheoffer and how he approached ethics. Bonheoffer did not believe that knowing good and bad is how ethics is done, but rather the beginning of all ethical decisions should be made by asking, “What is the Will of God?” (Ethics) He lived this out through his devotion to studying the scriptures and allowing God to speak to him. He could not stand around evil and do nothing, but was compelled by God to do something. One could look at the church of the time and its support of Nazism and ask why Bonheoffer thought that he was hearing the ‘will of God’ and the entire church was not. I believe that Bonhoeffer sought after the will of God to the best of his ability, while the church was living out of fear of the Nazi and did not stand on principle or seek out the will of God.
Bonheoffer, for most of his life was a pacifist, believing that killing was not right or generally justified. After Bonheoffer felt God’s calling to move back to Germany, he was silenced as a pastor for standing against the Nazi’s and than became heavily involved in the Abwehr, a German military intelligence agency which was resistance-dominated. These were the group of men who conspired to kill the mass murdered and leader of Nazism, Adolf Hitler. Bonheoffer stood on his principle, that to do nothing in the face of evil is evil. With this in mind I believe that Bonheoffer was justified in being involved in attempting to kill Hitler, because, yes, killing is wrong and Bonheoffer knew that, but in the circumstances, it was justified. The killing of Hitler is justified, I believe, because he was directly involved in coordinating the killing of millions of innocent lives, and thus one could say argue that it would be the greatest good for the greatest amount of people to kill Hitler. I would rather say, that in Bonheoffer’s case, he was seeking after the will of God and was provided with an opportunity to take out Hitler. In either choice of taking out of Hitler or doing nothing and allowing Hitler to continue with his agenda, killing is going to happen and it is still wrong. The choice than comes down to which is the higher calling before God to choose. Bonheoffer believed that if given the opportunity to do something, and in this case killing Hitler, that although killing is wrong, the protection of millions of innocent lives is of greater importance than the protection of one human life and in this case it was the higher calling before God.
Generally speaking, this argument could be taken to far, and thus looking at this circumstance, I believe it was justified, because Hitler was not an innocent bystander, but rather was directly involved in evil. This view that one life is less important than many cannot be applied to all circumstances. The question than arises, what is the difference between Hitler and an abortion doctor, both killing innocent lives. In the case of Hitler, he was a war criminal who had no governing authority over him to keep him accountable. Thus there were no other options to stop Hitler other than to kill him. With an abortion doctor, there are many other options that could be pursued in order to make abortion illegal, unthinkable, or even to open the eyes of the doctor. In the case of Hitler, it is still justifiable to kill him in order to save innocent lives and to stop the spread of evil.
Dietrich Bonheoffer sought the will of God, and did what he thought was justified. He believe that he was following the higher calling before God and concluded, “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.” (Ethics)
there is something very fascinating about watching infants. new into this world with innocence and naiveness, they explore the world around them- seeing new things, hearing new sounds, and feeling new objects- all with a determination, excitement, and almost delight. the development of children has always fascinated me on a psychological as well as psychomotor level. to watch a child attempt to roll over, than to stand up, or to take their first step, and finally to walk for the first time is a drama in and of itself, a drama filled with attempts, failures, successes, and hope.
in a lot of ways, children and their development are a reflection of our development (sanctification) in Christ. when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and we are declared justified before the Throne of God, we are born into a new and exciting life. a life that in a lot of ways parallels that our a developing child. we discover ‘newness’ in this world and life, things that we’ve never been able to see before, but now become visible because our spiritual eyes and ears are now open. in a lot of ways, we never truly ‘grow-up’ out of a childish spiritual life until we enter Heaven- perfect and blameless before God. like a child we begin to learn how to stand on our own two feet, take our first step, and attempt to walk on our own. far to often we make the detrimental mistake of assuming that we have to do this, as if we have something to prove or accomplish for God.
this attempt to walk all by ourselves can take many forms, and more often than not they are wrong and sinful. for me, one of the best examples of this attitude, was my prayer and time in God’s word. you may be asking how could spending time with God be sinful? my form of sending time ‘with God’ took the form of if i got up early enough, i would pray and ask God to rescue me from all the things i was struggling with that morning. i would read God’s word searching for the right verses to ‘fix’ my shortcomings or struggles that i knew i was going to face that day. how could this be wrong? aren’t we suppose to “make our requests known to God”? yes, we are. but not in such as way that you use God. using God is when we take God’s word and use it just an emergency kit to boost our day and use prayer to just complain and ask God to fix us, in essence to make us ‘perfect’ so we can face the day and do well.
Christ never said come to me when you need an extra boost or use my words to be perfect. no, He offered all who are weary and weak to come to Him and He will strength and commands us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. to walk with Him daily.
far to to often I think we are more like the stubborn child who attempts to walk on his own, but ends up falling on his face every time. let us walk with our Lord and Savior on a daily basis and sense His leading and guiding in our lives.
let us not use God, but rather worship Him as we learn to walk with Him daily!