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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Forgiveness From the Heart of Corrie Ten Boom

Many of the best examples of people recovering from hurt are from those who have allowed God to help them forgive. Corrie Ten Boom is a glowing example. Her struggle to forgive is well known in Christian circles, but it is worth repeating since she overcame good with evil and did so mainly by trusting in the goodness of God’s commands. During World War II Corrie and her family rescued Jews from slaughter by hiding them in their house. The Ten Booms were betrayed, caught, and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. More than 96,000 women died there, one of whom was Corrie’s beloved sister, Betsie.


Here is an excerpt from her biography, The Hiding Place ~

Some years later, Corrie gave a speech at church in Numich, after which a heavyset man approached her. Corrie recognized him as one of the most brutal guards in her camp. She froze in pain and anguish. The man said to her, “Since that time, I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein – will you forgive me?” Corrie wrestled with what she said. It was the most difficult thing she ever did. She wrote,

I had to do it – I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. “Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never know God’s love so intensely as I did then.

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness, any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.

2 comments:

Becky Mcfadden said...

This gripped me to my very soul. It was so hard to find forgiveness for a person that beat my daughter so brutally and now we are on the same side. This forgiveness only comes from God. I didn't want to forgive, I wanted to kill and destroy him. How is it that that we can fathom this type of forgiveness. We can't, it is not humanly possible to rationalize it. We are told to obey the Holy Spirit that goes beyond the human capacity. I discovered a greater God than I had ever known when he held my hand and I embraced him with God's love. I love this. I can't understand but God does and that hate was taken out of my heart and turned to love. There is no more hate. I wasn't representing my feelings but God's feelings towards him through me. It shakes me all over to remember that experience and how I trusted God and pushed my self away.

Cherie LaLanne said...

Amen, Becky! Unforgiveness truly torments our soul and poisons our existence. It pours into every other relationship in some way. Thank you for joining me here as my very first guest! ♥ And, of course, for sharing from your heart how God moved mountains in your life. It is most definitely a miraculous work of God to have such hate removed from our heart. He replaces it with compassion too! How incredible is that! Celebrating with you, my dear friend!

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