Corrie Ten Boom was arrested at the age of 47 during World War II, along with her aged father, sister, and other family members for hiding Jews from the Nazis. They were all sent to a concentration camp. On the way there her father died. When they arrived at the camp she, her sister, and many other women were ordered to undress in front of mocking soldiers and sent to the showers. She was able to sneak in a Bible that became her lifeline. While in the camp her only sister died. She would later be released and would go on to become an evangelist, traveling the world preaching on forgiveness, sharing her personal story.
At one meeting, after preaching on forgiveness a German solider who stood guard at the shower room door at her concentration camp came up to her. She immediately recognized him. He thrust out his hand and said, “What a great message. I’m so thankful that he has washed my sins away.”
That’s when all the memories flooded her mind again – the mocking soldiers, the piles of clothes, her dead father and sister. She couldn’t raise her hand. In her book Hiding Place she writes about what happened next, “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 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.”
We are all in a race, the race of faith. Are you getting tired? Feel like quitting? Look down for a moment and see if you’re carrying baggage. You might be running with baggage filled with past hurts. You can’t run and carry baggage. You can forgive by God’s grace. Let it go so you can run straight for the prize. What a powerful truth. When God commands us to love and to forgive He gives along with the command the love and forgiveness if we will trust him.
To hear her in her own words check out this video.