Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace

In Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace, Dietrich Bonhoeffer experiences extreme difficulty when he is faced with the decision of helping with the assassination of Hitler. This decision is particularly difficult for Bonhoeffer because he is pastor, and murder presents extreme moral conflicts. The choice he makes will affect not only himself but also his family. Bonhoeffer experiences a great deal of hesitation, but he eventually realizes the choice he must make. In making this choice he shows exemplary courage, faith, and loyalty. 

Bonhoeffer is a pastor who holds true to his faith. This faith causes the main conflict in the film. The cause may have been noble, but by supporting it, Bonhoeffer would have to participate in many sinful acts. He would have to lie, betray his government, and participate in murder. Bonhoeffer was completely against the idea of Hitler’s assignation because he came into power legally, and Bonhoeffer felt that he should be removed legally. After talking with Hans, he still had many doubts about assisting in the mission. Beyond his religion, the safely and well being of his family and friends concerned him. Also, he worried that he may be seen as corrupt and a hypocrite. His hesitation only intensified when he proposed to Maria. He immediately regretted bringing her into these complications, especially at such a young age. 

Bonhoeffer decided to dedicated himself fully to the mission after seeing the documentation of Hitler’s killings, torture, and plans of future abuse. He began to view Hitler’s assignation has the lesser of two evils. He believed that it is better to do evil, than to be evil. While Bonhoeffer was against murder, he realized that people would continue to be killed as long as Hitler remained in power. He also felt he had a responsibility to do the work of God, and that God would have mercy on him because he wanted to murder for the greater good and not simply for the sake of killing people. 

Once Bonhoeffer was put into prison, he exercised many forms of resistance. Firstly, he never gave up on his religion. Even when he was mocked, he continued to believe in God and hold on to his faith. He encouraged others to believe in God, and also to believe in the future. Praying for the prisoner next door to him was also a form of resistance. Although the boy was killed, Bonhoeffer’s poem was passed out to other prisoners and this kept the spirit of the boy as well as the spirit of Bonhoeffer alive throughout the prison. When questioned throughout the course of his imprisonment, Bonhoeffer refused to give direct answers to anyone. He did this in hopes of protecting himself and the others involved in the mission. He communicated through reading, and he remained humble throughout the whole process. 

Bonhoeffer had many opportunities to escape death, but he chose to be true to himself and loyal to his faith, country, and peers. He could have chosen to remain in America and continue his gospel, but he felt like he would be doing himself a great disservice by staying and taking the easy way out. He could have chosen not to help with Hitler’s assassination, but after considering the pros and cons he knew it was the best thing to do. He also had many opportunities in prison to confess, and betray the others in the operation, but he chose to stand and accept his punishment. He was willing to risk his life, and happiness for the greater good, and the salvation of others.