Fruits of Forgiveness
You will find it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are too heavy.”
Corrie ten Boom
Corrie ten Boom was born on April 15, 1892, to a working-class family in Haarlem, Netherlands. She was a Christian watchmaker and later a writer, who worked with her father, her sister and other family members to help many Jewish people escape from the Nazis during the Holocaust by hiding them in her home. She believed her actions were following the will of God. They were caught, and she was arrested and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp.
She and her family were Calvinist Christians in the Dutch Reformed Church, and their faith inspired them to serve their community. The family never sought to convert any of the Jews who stayed with them. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. “If you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
Corrie knew it was a commandment of God, but that it was also a daily experience. Since the end of the war, she had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. There, she observed that those who were able to forgive their former enemies were also able to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars were. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids.
She said, "Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”*
After a speaking engagement one evening on forgiveness, a former captor from the Ravensbrück concentration camp, who had since become a Christian, came forward to speak with her. He asked her if she forgave him, as he knew God had forgiven him. She paused, and as hard as it was for her, she felt compelled, and said, “I forgive you, brother, with all my heart!”*

She had never known God’s love so intensely as she did then.

*Both quotes from The Hiding Place.
The Rev. Gill B. Keyworth
Deacon, Pastoral Associate
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