Archive for the ‘FORGIVENESS!’ Category

FORGIVENESS

Family and Friends,

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Matthew 5:44-45

But I say unto you,

Love your enemies,

bless them that curse you,

do good to them that hate you,

and pray for them which despitefully use you,

and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:

for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good,

and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

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“I can forgive, but I cannot forget,” is only another way of saying, “I will not forgive.”

 A forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note,

torn in two and burned up,

so that it can never be shown against the man.

~Henry Ward Beecher

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Corrie Ten Boom Story on Forgiving

“It was in a church in Munich that I saw him—a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat

clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving

along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated

Germany with the message that God forgives.

 

 

“It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental

picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven

sins were thrown. ‘When we confess our sins,’ I said, ‘God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. …’

“The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe. There were never questions after a talk in

Germany in 1947. People stood up in silence, in silence collected their wraps, in silence left the room.

“And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and

the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a

rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights; the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the

floor; the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp

beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

 

 

[Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this

man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent.]

“Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you

say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’

 

 

“And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He

would not remember me, of course—how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of

women?

 

 

“But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors

and my blood seemed to freeze.

 

 

“ ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me.

“ ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel

things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will

you forgive me?’

 

 

“And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in

that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

 

 

“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I

wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

 

 

“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those

who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in

heaven forgive your trespasses.’

 

 

“I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a

home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able

also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who

nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

 

 

“And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that

too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘…

Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

 

 

“And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible

thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And

then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“ ‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

 

 

“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never

known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”

~

(excerpted from “I’m Still Learning to Forgive” by Corrie ten Boom. Reprinted by permission from Guideposts Magazine. Copyright © 1972 by Guideposts Associates, Inc., Carmel, New York 10512>).

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Thank you for stopping by.

Please pray for America the Beautiful and Spiritual Awakening

 

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