WFW: Forgive

January 19, 2010

WFW

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgression to the Lord.” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. selah Psalm 32:5

Let all bitterness, wrath, vengeance, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, and all viciousness. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

You know who has a great testimony? Corrie ten Boom. She was from Holland.

Her family was arrested during World War II because she hid Jews in her home, against the law. She and her sister were sent to the Ravensbrook concentration camp. Even though Corrie was a Christian, she really struggled with vicious anger and unforgiveness. She was angry at the injustice of her situation, angry at the treatment the prisoners received, and bitterly unforgiving to the German guard who tormented her sister (her sister later died in the camp). She had visions of bludgeoning the guard to death. She knew God did not want her to be bitter and unforgiving, but she felt like she couldn’t control herself. Her sister’s death turned her inward even more.

Through a miracle, Corrie was later released from the camp: she was sentenced to be put to death due to her age, but a clerical error saved her and she was released. But unforgiveness weighed her down. She sought God once again, and found a miracle of healing in her soul. She dedicated the rest of her life to preaching the gospel, traveling all across Europe to help the victims of the concentration camps… and in an amazing moment, she met that German guard who had tormented her sister. Corrie reached out to that guard with the love of Christ, and the guard was saved by Christ.

Corrie’s story is portrayed in the book, The Hiding Place. There is a movie version, too. And Corrie has written many other books about forgiveness, like Tramp For the Lord.

Forgiveness, like so many of the things Jesus taught, is often misunderstood. Forgiveness does not mean we never get angry. Jesus got angry. Forgiveness does not mean that we allow evil to thrive while we wimpily stand around with mopey faces all the time. Forgiveness does not mean that you never take a stand–a bold stand, even–for righteousness and in defending the innocent. And forgiveness has nothing to do with that “forgive and forget” crap– that’s so lame. We forgive because God forgave us. We don’t hoard bitterness and resentment in our hearts against people– people are wicked and do wicked things, yes; but God forgave us– we forgive them by showing love and sharing God’s love with them, no matter how they treat us. Forgiveness is closely coupled with not taking vengeance, which is something that belongs solely to God.

Forgiveness is an act of the will: we forgive others their troublesome moral faults because God forgave us ours.

Corrie ten Boom’s motto became No pit is so deep that God is not deeper still. It was what her dying sister told her before she died. No matter how deep we are–whether we put ourselves there or other people have hurt us– God is deeper still. He is there.

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7 Responses to “WFW: Forgive”

  1. Karen Says:

    I read her book when I was a teen and was really moved by it. Amazing person.

  2. Renee Says:

    Thanks for posting this great Word for Wednesday! I have been thinking a lot about this. How great God’s forgiveness is! He forgives us and lets us go when we sin. He is merciful. And since we are forgiven, we forgive others. We can forgive ourselves and everyone else who messes up or mistreats us. Forgiveness is so freeing! (It actually goes right along with praying for one another… something else that has been on my mind…)

  3. Jay Says:

    That is very good! Her story is amazing. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine forgiving someone after causing a family member to die…

    And how amazing it is that someone like her can use her pain to help others in the concentration camps. That’s one of the great things about forgiveness- once we’ve decided to forgive, we can help others who are going through the same thing as we were.

    Good one, Rebecca! šŸ˜€

  4. Hercules Mulligan Says:

    Great post, and great testimony. What a witness to the power of Christ in someone’s life. I think Corrie Ten Boom’s story is one that will never get old.

    P.S. For the first time in some time, I did a WFW, too!
    http://herkyreflects.blogspot.com/2010/01/wfw-revival-at-asbury-college-in-1970.html

  5. The Other Alice Says:

    What an incredible story; and reminds us that we forgive, because we have been forgiven! What a wonder, what amazing grace that saved a wretch like me, thus, I am compelled by the love of Christ to forgive. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Thanks, this post was a good exhortation for the day. šŸ˜€

  6. akaGaGa Says:

    There’s no doubt that Corrie was an example to us all.

    I think that our problem sometimes is thinking that the other guy is worse than we are, and doesn’t deserve forgiveness. But God doesn’t grade on a curve – it’s only pass or fail, and we all fail. When we understand that, we know that we need His forgiveness just as much as the other guy.

    Good post. Sorry I took so long getting here, but it’s been one of those weeks!

  7. Miss Szymanski Says:

    Excellent post, Rebecca! It reminds me of the persecuted Christians around the world; they are persecuted, but they forgive their persecutors because Christ forgave them — AND because Christ cares about their tormentor’s salvation, as well. (That’s what my WFW is about this week; I FINALLY got it up!).