Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Quote of the Day

Human love has little regard for truth.  It makes the truth relative, since nothing, not even the truth, must come between it and the beloved person.  Human love desires the other person, his company, his answering love, but it does not serve him. On the contrary, it continues to desire even when it seems to be serving.  There are two marks, both of which are one and the same thing, that manifest the difference between spiritual and human love:  Human love cannot tolerate the dissolution of a fellowship that has become false for the sake of genuine fellowship, and human love cannot love an enemy, that is, one who seriously and stubbornly resists it.  Both spring from the same source:  human love is by its very nature desire - desire for human community.  So long as it can satisfy this desire in some way, it will not give it up, even for the sake of truth, even for the sake of genuine love for others.  But where it can no longer expect its desire to be fulfilled, there it stops short - namely, in the face of an enemy.  There it turns to hatred, contempt and calumny. 

Right here is the point where spiritual love begins.  This is why human love becomes personal hatred when it encounters genuine spiritual love, which does not desire but serves.  Human love makes itself an end in itself.  It creates of itself an end, an idol which it worships, to which it must subject everything.  It nurses and cultivates an ideal, it loves itself, and nothing else in the world.  Spiritual love, however, comes from Jesus Christ, it serves Him alone, it knows that it has no immediate access to other persons. 

Jesus Christ stands between the lover and others he loves.  I do not know in advance what love of others means in the basis of the general idea of love that grows out of my human desires- all this may be hatred and an insidious kind of selfishness in the eyes of Christ.  What love is, only Christ tells us in His Word.  Contrary to all my own opinions and convictions, Jesus Christ will tell me what love toward the brethren really is. Therefore, spiritual love is bound solely to the Word of Jesus Christ.  Where Christ bids me to maintain fellowship for the sake of love, I will maintain it.  Where his truth enjoins me to dissolve a fellowship for love's sake, there I will dissolve it, despite all the protests of my human love…… Human love can never understand spiritual love, for spiritual love is from above; it is something completely strange, new, and incomprehensible to all earthly love.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
from his book: Life Together

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