Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Musings from Readings: Bonhoeffer on New Years Resoloutions

I ran across this in a devotional book based on the writings of my hero, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It is quite timely for a New Year, I believe. I hope that it encourages you as it did me.

"'The road to hell is paved with good intentions.' This saying, which is found in a broad variety of lands, does not arise from the brash worldly wisdom of an incorrigible. It instead reveals deep Christian insight. At the beginning of a new year, many people have nothing better to do than to make a list of bad deeds and resolve from now on - how many such 'from-now-ons' have there already been! - to begin with better intentions, but they are still stuck in the middle of their paganism. They believe that a good intention already means a new beginning; they believe that on their own they can make a new start whenever they want. But that is an evil illusion: only God can make a new beginning with people whenever God pleases, but not people with God. Therefore, people cannot make a new beginning at all; they can only pray for one. Where people are on their own and live by their own devices, there is only the old, the past. Only where God is can there be a new beginning. We cannot command God to grant it: we can only pray to God for it. And we can pray only when we realize that we cannot do anything, that we have reached our limit, that someone else must make that new beginning."


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