Today’s post is written by our Brave Writer, Karen Asbra
Forgiveness – a willingness to forgive
Forgiveness is an act of will. For most of us this does not come easy, we feel that if we forgive we have to forget. We don’t forgive because we are afraid of being hurt again. Yet it is unforgiveness that locks us in the prison of our own self.
The next person I want to highlight is Corrie Ten Boom. She models forgiveness in a way I can not imagine. She was born and raised in the Netherlands. She came from a family of devout Christians who always had an open door policy for all who needed help. When World Word II broke out their home became a refuge for Jews. On February 28, 1944 the family was betrayed and the Gestapo raided their home and arrested Corrie, her two sisters, her brother, father, and a nephew. Corrie and her sister Betsie eventually ended up in Ravensbruck, a concentration camp for women. Women were used as slave labor and in medical experiments. Thousands of women, mostly Jews, were killed in gas chambers. Life in the camp was horrendous. Corrie survived but her sister Betsie did not. Corrie was released on December 31, 1944.
In 1947, just three years after her horrific experience, Corries faith and resolve would be tested again. Corrie visited a church in Munich, Germany to preach on forgiveness. In her speech she spoke about her time in Ravensbruck. After she was finished she saw a man, whom had been a guard at Ravensbruck, approaching her. Corrie recognized him right away and all the memories of her time in Ravensbruck came flooding through her mind. The gentleman approached Corrie reached out his hand and asked for forgiveness. He had since become a Christian and knew he had God’s forgiveness but now he was asking for Corrie’s.
Corrie Ten Boom had a choice to make in that moment. She knew and loved God and relied upon His command in Matthew 6:15. It says,
“But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses. AMP.
I would imagine this was not easy and it took a lot of trust but it was brave of her to risk her heart. She wasn’t concerned with her own pain and experience as much as she was devoted to pleasing God. As she forgave him she reached out her hand to him, as he did her, and a wave of healing warmth ran through her body. The words “I forgive you” came out of her mouth and in that instant she felt the Love of Jesus like never before.
Forgiving those who have hurt us really can be difficult. So often we hear that forgiveness is not about the person who offends you but it is about you releasing any anger, bitterness or unforgiveness; and they are right. It may not be easy but it is true. So today, who do you need to forgive? Is it someone in your family, a friend, or do you just need to forgive yourself?
Don’t let unforgiveness keep you a prisoner any longer. Forgive and be released brave one!
Information was gathered from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/voices/boom.html
To learn more about Corrie Ten Boom you can read her books: Tramp for the Lord, The Hiding Place, and Corrie Ten Boom Her Story just to name a few.
Karen Asbra is happily married to Lance Asbra and has 3 amazing children. She is a writer, song writer, and worship leader and enjoys bringing people into the presence and intimacy of God. You can visit Karen at her blog http://lanceandkarenasbra.com