One of my heroines is Dutch Christian Corrie ten Boom. She, along with her father Casper and her sister Betsie helped to hide many Jewish people during World War II in their home. They were eventually arrested. Her father died in prison while Betsie and Corrie were taken to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Here they were cruelly treated and Betsie died.
In Germany in 1947 Corrie was speaking at an event on forgiveness of sins when she recognised a former guard from Ravensbruck coming towards her, wanting to shake her hand. She was immediately transported back and saw only cruelty from this man who had helped to cause the death of her sister. In her words:
“And still I stood there with coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion – I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperament of the heart. ‘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 out 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 known God’s love so intensely as I did then. But even so, I realised it was not my love. I had tried and did not have the power. It was the love of the Holy Spirit.” (Page 57 Tramp For The Lord)
Such a powerful passage on forgiveness and one that has never left me since I first read about it many years ago.
Bless you Corrie for your faithfulness and your obedience and your bravery.