Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 NLT
She saw him coming across the room. One who had made her life a living hell.
Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, languished in prison until Betsie died. Shortly thereafter—later discovered to be through of a clerical error—authorities released Corrie. One week later, soldiers killed all the women her age.
After her release, Corrie traveled over Holland and Europe telling of her experience. On one occasion, while speaking in Munich, she saw one of the Nazi guards from Ravensbruck coming toward her with a smile on his face. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein. To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away,” he said.
He thrust his hand toward Corrie, but her arm felt as if glue held it to her side. She had to utter several prayers, asking God to help her forgive him, before she could bring herself to return his gesture. But when she did, something astounding happened.
In The Hiding Place, Corrie writes, “As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. 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.”
Corrie experienced the joy of forgiveness—the kind Paul said believers should give.
The basis of our forgiveness is God’s forgiveness. When we ask—and no matter how often we ask—God is always willing to forgive. A significant part of His nature is love, and love demands forgiveness. When I’ve been forgiven by God, I’ll understand how ludicrous it is for me to refuse to forgive someone else, no matter how deeply they’ve hurt me.
Forgiveness is never easy and may require repeating. Forgiveness releases someone from a debt they owe us because of a wrong they’ve committed against us.
Forgiving the infraction doesn’t mean we place our stamp of approval on what they’ve done—or that they shouldn’t suffer consequences for their actions.
Peace results when we forgive. In fact, forgiveness benefits us more than it does the person we’re forgiving. Jesus said He came to bring peace. He also wants us to live abundantly. Both states of being require a regular habit of releasing those who harm us—physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.
With God’s help, forgive those who have wronged you.
Tweetable: Are you extending an arm of forgiveness?
Prayer: Father, as You have forgiven us, so help us to forgive others.
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