Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Gift of Forgiveness

It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, a former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie's pain-blanched face. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.” He said. “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I prayed, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness. As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. 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.

Corrie Ten Boom
From her book, THE HIDING PLACE


Tiffany said...

WOW! What a beautiful post. I always come away from your blog feeling uplifted! Thank you for that.

Maureen said...

Thank you Tiffany. This woman is such an inspiration to me. To have survived all that she did, and to radiate the love of the Savior--she is amazing! Don't you love that picture of her and the joy her face has on it?

John and Rachael said...

That was a beautiful post. What a great reminder of the ability we have to overcome even the most difficult, awful challenges and circumstances. I was considering this book for book club in October. What do you think?

Maureen said...

A terrific choice, Rachel! I can guarantee a great discussion!