Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; Forgiveness

"Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart". Corrie ten Boom.

Corrie ten Boom and the story she has shared is such a blessing of a godly example to us today. Coming from a family who, for generations, had cared for Jews in various ways, she and her family hide dozens of Jews from the Nazis, and found homes for many more before they were arrested and experienced all the tortures that the Nazis could find to inflict on their victims. Corrie's father, and eventually her sister, died during this time, and Corrie's discharge before death was only because of a mix-up of paperwork on the Nazis' part.

Corrie spent the rest of her life after her release, sharing her story, and the hope she had in Christ that had gotten her through the times of hopelessness. While at one of the meetings she was speaking at, there came to her one of the guards who had done so much to her and her sister years before. In that moment, Corrie knew that she hadn't forgiven those who had done so much harm as she had thought she had. She could not bring herself to shake the hand that this man held out towards her.

Realizing this, she did not simply turn away. She prayed. For Christ's love and forgiveness to be shown to this man even when she could not show him her own, and she reached out to shake the guard's hand. And the Lord gave her that strength to finally forgive. Telling the story later, she would say "When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself."

"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Forgiveness is the very essence of the gospel message. Christ died that our offenses might be forgiven, and through Him we can forgive others, sharing His grace with others. Whether we feel like the person deserves our forgiveness or not, that forgiveness is one of the strongest witnesses that we have been given to point others to Jesus!

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"May the Lord, the God of your fathers... bless you!" Deuteronomy 1:11