Saturday, May 17, 2008

Forgiveness - Part I

When I was in 8th grade I went to see The Hiding Place at the Meyerland Cinema across the street from school one afternoon. Movies were a real treat for me, my parents didn't spend money on entertainment very often, though we had plenty of good times. I think they spent most of their money on my education at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church & School and on ballet lessons.

I knew The Hiding Place was a movie based on Corrie ten Boom's life. I had a little knowledge about what the soldiers endured during World War II, but I didn't know what civilians endured during the War, nor did I know how many brave people helped the Jews. I was so moved by the ten Boom's sacrifice as they demonstrated love to the unloved people and the Jews in the Netherlands. What an example of living for the Lord. I remember crying during the movie. I then asked for the book for Christmas or my birthday and read it as quickly as I could. I cried and cried for the ten Booms and all the people who made sacrifices in World War II and the persecuted people who faced harsh treatment and death at the hands of the Nazis and other evil doers during the War.

A year later I went on a ballet exchange program to Poland for 6 weeks, this was still in the days of the USSR and hard core Communism. We were heavily guarded on the trip. I toured a concentration camp and was appalled. When I returned home, I reread The Hiding Place and once again was struck with the love the ten Booms extended to everyone because of their love and obedience to Christ Jesus. Corrie later found out who betrayed her family.

This is the letter she wrote to him, it is an extraordinary example of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Mr. Vogel,

I have discovered that, almost certainly you are the man who betrayed me and my family and caused me much suffering. My sister, Betsie, and my father died in prison because of your betrayal, but, I want you to know today that I forgive you with all my heart. My Savior has forgiven me for my sins, so what less can I do for you? You may, perhaps, die very soon, but I urge you even now as you await execution, to claim the Lord's free gift of forgiveness and salvation. All you have to do is ask Him to save you from all your wrongdoings, and He will forgive you. I often tell people that their sins can be thrown into the bottom of the sea by God. I believe that God puts a sign out in the sea that says "No fishing Allowed!" You can have your sins washed away for eternity. Please know, Sir, that, because of Jesus, I have no bitter feelings toward you. I forgive you; allow Him to forgive you, too!

Sincerely,


Corrie ten Boom

2 comments:

Nancy said...

How touching. I too love the story of Corie ten Boom. I can't imagine what it would be like to walk the camps where so many people suffered in ways we cannot even imagine. Her words of forgiveness to the man who betrayed her reminded me of Steven's words as he looked toward heaven as he was being stoned, and the very words of Christ on the cross as he spoke to the criminal hanging next to Him. Such love and forgiveness is absolutely amazing and what we all must strive to possess.

Blessings,
Nancy

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