Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor during the reign of Hitler. He was imprisoned for refusing to submit to Hitler’s agenda and wrote many letters and books during his imprisonment, one of which was called Life Together, a book about what it means to live together in covenant with one another. Here was some of his advice, in some of my own words.
- Refuse to speak uncharitably about a brother or sister in Christ
- Cultivate humility toward others – the kind of humility that can forgive their sins and failures because you are aware of your own
- Listen long and patiently – be willing to give up your “right” to be heard and give the benefit of the doubt to those with whom you may disagree
- Refuse to consider your time to valuable to be used in helping others
- Preserve one another’s freedoms – give others the freedom to disagree with you or come to conclusions on issues of “freedom” and be willing to forgive them when they fall. In other words, we cannot and should not try to be the Holy Spirit for other people.
This is all practical and simple advice that is extremely difficult to follow. May God grant us repentance for our sins against one another in thought, word, and deed!