Breaking the barriers in our hearts (Ethics 4)

I meet a lot of people who have built up barriers to trusting God. I know people right now who are struggling with belief because things are not going as they hoped. I know others who are questioning some aspect of God and His system.
Bonhoeffer has already stated that the answer to living rightly in this world is found in Christ. But, he says, to live for Christ we have to deal with the condition of our hearts. “We may make it difficult for ourselves to attain faith,” he says.
How do we make it difficult on ourselves? Both the way we look at our experiences and the inner working of our heart impact how we receive the message of God.
Some who are cast into poverty and helplessness might find it hard to believe in a God of justice and goodness.
Some who live in disorder and indiscipline might find it hard to hear the commands of God.
Some who are in positions of power and have all they need might find it hard to recognize the judgment and mercy of God.
Some disappointed by mistaken beliefs or an indisciplined heart might find it hard to believe in the simple surrender of the heart.

Part of the Christian task then is to knock down those barriers in our own hearts and in the hearts of others. We do not give grace, but we can prepare the way for God’s grace by breaking through the barriers in the hearts of people. As Bonhoeffer says, “The hungry man needs bread and the homeless man needs a roof; the dispossessed need justice and the lonely need fellowship; the undisciplined need order and the salve needs freedom.”
Bonhoeffer makes it clear that these acts do not save a person. He makes it clear that even those who are in bad situations can still be saved. But, any barrier we can remove in order to encounter God is barrier we should seek to remove.


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