Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the common life, is not the one who sins still a person with whom I too stand under the word of Christ? Will not another Christian’s sin be an occasion for me ever anew to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ? Therefore, will not the very moment of great disillusionment with my brother or sister be incomparably wholesome for me because it so thoroughly teaches me that both of us can never live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and deed that really binds us together, the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ?
(p. 37). Bonhoeffer urges us to celebrate the fact that we are in community with sinners — because sin reminds us that we are all saved by grace — and that we are bound together by a common forgiveness.
When sin enters the community, we recoil because we are pledged to flee sin. But when my brother is caught in sin, despite his penitent heart and pledge of faithfulness to Jesus, I should see myself in him, just as I see Jesus in him. I see myself in his failings and imperfections, and I see Jesus in his potential and future.
When I rebuke him for his sin, I rebuke myself, because I too am a sinner. When I beg him to repent, I only ask him to do what I also must do. When I beg him to confess, if we are confessing community, I am only asking him to do what we have all been doing all along.
Therefore, sin is an occasion that can strengthen and build community, just as a broken bone results in a stronger bone. The healing process creates a stronger, closer community as we open our hearts to one another and reveal our true natures to our brothers and sisters.