Chapter 13, “The Enemy - the ‘Extraordinary’”
What is it that allows the Christian to deal with his enemies? What allows the disciple to be perfect as God is? As he comments on Matthew 5:43-48 bonhoeffer draws some conclusions.
The Christian does have enemies, or rather, there are people who view Christians as enemies. Christ’s disciples treat all people as friends but not all will reciprocate. Unlike national Israel, the Church does not remove enemies from the land. Jesus’ disciples are left to overcome the enemy by love.
Jesus is specific about how the Christian loves an enemy. It is done by blessing, by doing good, by praying for those who would oppose us. this, Bonhoeffer observes, is exactly the way Jesus has treated his people. This love convicts the enemies of Christ of their sin and calls them to repentance.
This character of love Bonhoeffer identifies as the “extraordinary” (Loc. 2135). We are not special because of any quality but love for God and neighbor. We engage in acts of love for our enemies, which by itself makes us perfect in love.