Forgiveness is one of the most powerful components of Corrie ten Boom’s story, told in her books The Hiding Place, Tramp for the Lord, I Stand at the Door and Knock, and Amazing Love. Because the wrongs against her and her family had been so heinous, when Corrie was able, with God’s help, to forgive those who had sinned against her, her life became a demonstration of the raw, real power of God for forgiveness. Corrie ten Boom’s testimony has changed countless lives.
Childlike Faith, Profound Testimony
Corrie’s belief in God was childlike, and her faith was simple, but her testimony is profound. She took God at his Word. Her stories reveal how she asked for God’s help in all kinds of situations, and then trusted him and expected to hear from him, and how he responded. God repeatedly empowered Corrie to do things she thought she could not do—but that she knew he wanted and expected her to do.
One of the things God wanted Corrie to do was to forgive. And she had a lot to forgive: Corrie and her family were betrayed and then cruelly mistreated by Nazis; some of her family members died as a result.
God Empowered Her for True Forgiveness
Corrie told of how, after she was freed from Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany in 1944, and was traveling internationally and speaking about God, she still did not have the strength on her own to forgive a prison guard who had been one of her and her sister Betsie’s cruelest captors in the camp. But then the moment came when Corrie knew that God wanted her to forgive the man. She still could not do it on her own, so she asked God to give her the strength to forgive him. And immediately, God did give her the power to forgive.
One of the most surprising parts of this story, besides the fascinating account of how God helped Corrie, step by step, during her very real struggle to forgive, was that, immediately afterward, she felt free.
Benefits of Forgiveness
By forgiving the people who had sinned so grievously against her, Corrie allowed others to be set free from a spiritual bondage they had stepped into when they sinned against her:
If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven (John 20:23, NLT).
But by forgiving those who sinned against her, Corrie also allowed herself to be set free from the spiritual burden of her own sins:
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15, NLT).
Pray like this: “Our Father in heaven, … forgive our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:9, 12 , NLT).