Advent, Week 3, Day 5 – Jesus, Our Strength to Forgive
I’ve known what it is like to hate someone because of the pain they’ve caused me. And I’ve experienced the freedom that comes to my mind, and heart when I finally relinquish control and let Jesus help me to forgive.
Forgiveness is never easy – I’ve never been able to do it successfully without the help of the Holy Spirit. It is too costly, and too hard without him. But, when I have forgiven with his help, I’ve learned I’m the one who finds freedom – from the price I’d been paying because of bitterness and hatred. It ate at my soul, and consumed my energy.
One person who exemplified the life of Christ regarding forgiveness involving the most atrocious evil, was Corrie ten Boom. Corrie was a spinster watch-maker living with her sister, Betsy, her mother and watch-maker father during the capture and slaughter of the Jews in Austria before and during WWII. When her family began to notice their neighbors being rounded up only because they were Jews, they took their Christianity seriously, and so placed their comfortable home and comfortable lives on the line to rescue Jews from the clutches of Hitler. Eventually they were discovered, and sent to a concentration camp. Of her family, Corrie and a brother were the only ones who survived. She watched Betsy die a horrific death, and later found out both her father and mother had died as well. Below, in her own words, is her story of forgiveness for those who’d performed such heinous acts against her and her family.
“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….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….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.”
― Corrie ten Boom,
Even now as I write, I am reminded of someone whom I have not forgiven.
Lord, forgive me for not showing the forgiveness that I long to experience from you. Thank you for your forgiveness toward me, and thank you for Corrie’s example for me today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Proverbs 25:21-22, 26
If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat.
If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.
22 You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads,
and the Lord will reward you….
26 If the godly give in to the wicked,
it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.
Forgiving the evil done against us becomes a blow that evil can’t recover from
I would love to hear your stories of forgiveness. I’m praying for you.