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Forgiveness Is One Of The Most Difficult Feelings To Offer

Yesterday I wrote about forgiveness. I also wrote that I would share a story, one that I know will resonate with you, about what forgiveness takes. Herewith is an excerpt from my book, "Chrysalis: Awakening to God's Path, Protection, and Power in Our Lives" due out later this summer. The amazing realization is that it is true........


Corrie ten Boom and her family became involved in the Resistance efforts in the Netherlands during the Second World War. Along with her sister Betsie and her father Casper, Corrie decided to hide Jews in their home in Haarlem. As Christians, their conscientious’ would not allow them to stand idly by, feeling that persecuting the Jews was an affront to God.

In 1944, a few years after they began their defiance of the Nazis they were arrested and imprisoned. In September of that year, Corrie and Betsie were sent to the Concentration Camp at RAVENSBRUCK in Germany where Betsie died that December. A few days after her sister died Corrie was, incredibly, released.

In a camp, people were just not “released” – at least not in a physical sense – but due to a “clerical error” that is exactly what happened. Corrie, who died in 1983, devoted the remainder of her life to spreading the message of God’s Mercy and grace. After the war, she returned to Germany to declare Christ’s love for a broken world.

Carrie's own words, she recalled the following: “It was 1947 and I’d come from Holland to defeat Germany with the message that God forgives. It was the truth that they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown.”

“When we confess our sins,” I said, “God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever, and even though I cannot find a scripture for it, I believe God then places a sign out there that says ‘NO FISHING ALLOWED’.” “The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe. And that’s when I saw him working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a cap with skull and crossbones.

It came back with a rush, the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. “Betsie, how thin you were!” That place was Ravensbruck, and the man who was making his way forward had been a guard – one of the cruelest guards.

“Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: “A fine message, Fraulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!”

Forgive Your Self

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult feelings to offer. I say 'feelings' because on personal level money or goods are not exchanged. When someone hurts you, or someone you love on a nuclear level, it takes more than saying "Aw, shucks" and forgetting about it. This is the rest of Corrie's ten Booms story that began yesterday. I myself have often wondered "Could I have done what she did?".............

“And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course, how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women? “But I remembered him. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze. “You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk” he was saying. “I was a guard there.” No, he did not remember me. “But since that time” he went on “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.” again the hand came out “will you forgive me?” “And I stood there, I whose sins had again and again been forgiven and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place. Could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could have been seconds that he stood there hand held out, but to me, it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. “For 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. “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,” Jesus says “Neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” And still, I stood there with the 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 temperature 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 shoulders, raced down my arm, and 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 then, I realized it was not my love. I had tried and did not have the power. It was the power of the Holy Spirit.” Corrie ten Boom went on to touch millions of lives, a living testament of one who’d literally been through Hell on Earth and what God can do when you ask for His guidance.

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