"When God was merciful, when He revealed Jesus Christ to us as our Brother, when He won our hearts by His love, this was the beginning of our instruction in divine love. When God was merciful to us, we learned to be merciful with our brethren. When we received forgiveness instead of judgment, we, too, were made ready to forgive our brethren." (Life Together, 24f)
Just starting my annual rereading of Bonhoeffer's best book (my humble but accurate opinion). The phrase that struck me here was "the beginning of our instruction in divine love."
I have been "in Christ" for 34 years and I still feel like I am just beginning my instruction in "divine love." Worse, most of the time I think I am regressing. So is Bonhoeffer right? Do we become followers of Christ and become merciful and forgiving of the brethren? How?
"Help me Lord, to know your love not just intellectually but in the deepest and life transforming recesses of my soul. Help me to offer mercy when my emotions want judgment, to give forgiveness when I want to punish, to offer the warmth of love rather the cold shoulder of hostility. Make me a lover Lord. Make me to live passionately for and like You."