That was the plea Corrie ten Boom lifted in prayer as the man extended his hand to her.
We know Corrie ten Boom as the author of The Hiding Place, the true story of her family who Nazis imprisoned for hiding Jews in Holland during World War II. Her father died in jail 10 days later. Her sister died in the concentration camp. Only Corrie survived to tell the story.
One evening after she finished speaking in a church, a man approached her. He extended his hand and said, “Will you forgive me? Since the war, I repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. But, will you forgive me?”
Corrie ten Boom looked at the offered hand. Her eyes traveled to the man’s face. Before her stood one of the German guards who tortured her and her sister so cruelly in the concentration camp.
“Lord, I can’t. No, I can’t forgive him, Lord,” Corrie ten Boom pleaded in silent agony.
“Will you forgive me?” the man pressed.
“Lord, I can’t. But I will do my part, if You will do yours,” she prayed.
Then, with peace that surpassed any understanding, Corrie ten Boom clasped the gentleman’s hand and said, “I forgive you.”
Ten Boom’s words answered a question for me. How can she or anyone pardon the mountain of pain and hurt caused by another? The answer is that we can’t. We can’t do it alone. Only God’s Spirit can transform our hearts so that we can say as Corrie ten Boom said, “I forgive you.” Only as Jesus said from the cross,
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV)
Today, July 7 is Forgiveness Day, established in 1994 by the Christian Embassy of Christ’s Ambassadors. A day to reflect and put aside differences, move beyond hurts and start fresh. Yet, sometimes, we are not capable of pardoning someone who wronged us or caused much pain. We, like Corrie ten Boom, can only ask God to do His part first. Then, we can do ours.
Click here to read about the day I saw The Look of Forgiveness.
And, the Spirit works in mysterious ways. It is a week of Forgiveness… my writer friend, Jeanne Doyon, posted a blog about Corrie ten Boom on Saturday, July 6 without either of us realizing our subject was the same this week. Click here to read her post and learn more about this hero of the faith.
©2013 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.