Forgiveness

Everyday with God

Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32
Corrie Ten Boom was a former Nazi concentration camp survivor. Though she was not a Jew, Corrie and her family helped hide Jews in their home from the Nazis. She was caught and thrown into a concentration camp in 1944. She survived, and in 1947 she was traveling and speaking in various places about the Gospel and forgiveness. After a talk on forgiveness in Munich, Germany, too familiar for comfort, a man approached her and shook her hand. Immediately Corrie recognized him as one of the most vicious guards at the concentration camp. The guard began by acknowledging his gratitude for God’s forgiveness, and then let Corrie know he was now a Christian. He shared that he had already received God’s forgiveness but asked to be forgiven by Corrie as well. Corrie froze. It was in that moment that she '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.' Corrie then prayed for God’s strength to forgive this man, as it was the last thing she wanted to. Out of faith, Corrie extended her hand in an emotional and powerful act of forgiveness. By God’s grace she had strength to forgive this evil man.
 
Though many of us will never have a scenario quite so dark and evil, we will have many opportunities in our lives to forgive people. Whether big or small, any past betrayal, heartbreak, or disappointment can be challenging to forgive. Yet when we put into perspective the forgiveness we’ve been given, things become a little easier. Though forgiveness is never easy, it’s always freeing. Because when we fail to forgive, we become enslaved to bitterness, hatred and other emotions that bring us down. I don’t know what’s been done to you, but God does. He sees you and cares for you. Though you may have been deeply hurt, forgiveness can oftentimes be the first step into a journey of healing. God is big enough to give you the strength to forgive, just as he is big enough to heal your broken heart. Look to Christ today and remember that we can forgive because Christ has first forgiven us.
 
Questions for reflection:
 
1. How can reflecting on God's forgiveness toward you help you move toward forgiveness toward others?
2. Does forgiveness necessarily involve forgetting the past? Why or why not?
Jay Quick | Student Ministries Director

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