Bonhoeffer on Resistance to Evil

The news about Dr. George Tiller today makes the recent quotes from Miroslav Volf and this one from Bonhoeffer especially timely and relevant. At times like this I am reminded of Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

“The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match.”

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

HT: RustinSmyth


3 thoughts on “Bonhoeffer on Resistance to Evil

  1. That is a great quote. I have often thought of evil as represented by consumption. It consumes. And when there is nothing to consume, it dies. The fact that Dr. Tiller is dead changes nothing. Not a thing. It may slow down his clinic for this week. But that’s it. His spot is already filled by a physician that has been coming down from Nebraska and working in the same clinic for some time. This is a multi-million dollar operation that will not go untended by someone. More evil did nothing to stop it. It only increased suffering.

  2. I think this quote it ironic. Bonhoeffer would certainly say that one shouldn’t confront evil with evil. However, in spite of his pacifism he engaged in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. At the very least his pacifism was inconsistent. There came a time where he decided that it was best to go against his own principles for the sake of the greater good. He may have even considered that greater good the Kingdom.

    Your comment raises a question. Do you think Tiller would have maintained his clinic if it weren’t making money? Do you know of operations similar to his that operate like a free clinic? (Planned Parenthod maybe?)

  3. I think Tiller would have said that he would maintain it even if it wasn’t making money. But would he? I don’t know. He was making multi-millions a year. That certainly had to influence his decision-making. Even if he was not aware of it and denied it, it influenced him. I don’t doubt that he was sincere in his desire to “help women” which is the mantra that the pro-choice agenda lines up behind. But would he still do it for free or even if he were in debt? Interesting question. I do not personally know of any abortion clinics for the underserved or indigent.

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