Corrie Ten Boom, standing naked next to her older sister, watched as a concentration camp guard beat a helpless prisoner. While Corrie was concerned for the prisoner, her sister Betsie prayed for God to forgive the brutal Nazi guard. What Corrie didn’t know then was that God would use not only her sister’s testimony of forgiveness to affect people all over the world, but hers as well.
Corrie Ten Boom was carried into a world that we would all fear- concentration camp. Corrie dealt with starvation, thirst, nakedness, beatings, death of family members etc.. all for helping the Jews. Her own heritage would not have led to her imprisonment, but it was because she offered help to God’s chosen people that she faced great suffering. She chose to listen to the Spirit of God, and let His word guide her.
It was God who sustained this woman in a time of great horror.
After Corrie’s release, she began to preach the Gospel of Jesus and about forgiveness. In Munich she was at a church service when she saw her first S.S. solider since being in concentration camp. The sight of this man brought Corrie back to a room full of “mocking men, the heaps of clothing, and Betsie’s pain-blanched face” (238).
The man approached Corrie after the service and said, “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein. To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” (238).
The man extended his hand. Corrie was faced with a decision. Keep her hand at her side and refuse to forgive this brutal, sinful man or extend the forgiveness that God offers to each of us.
Corrie’s thoughts boiled with anger, yet she knew even in the moment it was wrong. Corrie knew that Christ had given up his life for this man and that had died on the cross to forgive his sins. Could she ask for more than that?
In that moment, Corrie cried out to God to forgive her and to please help her extend forgiveness. Struggling to lift her hand she felt no charity, no kindness, and no warmth. She cried out to God again for help (238).
As Corrie placed her hand in his a miracle took place. Read Corrie’s words, “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” (238). In that moment, Corrie discovered that forgiveness relies on God. “When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself” (238).
What enemy is God calling you to love? Is there someone you need to forgive today? Remember God gives you the ability to do what He has commanded. Cry out for help. He will help you.
(The quotes used in this post were taken from The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.)