Power of Forgiveness: If Christ can forgive, why can’t I

Corrie ten Boom became an inspirational speaker, following her years in a Nazi prison.

She was born in the Netherlands in 1892.  By the start of World War II, she was a young woman, living at home with her parents.  Her family were devout Christians, who harbored hundreds of Jews over the years, considering them “God’s ancient people.”

The entire family became active in assisting the Jews and protecting them in a secret room they had built in their home.  A Dutch informant turned the family into the Gestapo and they were arrested on February 28, 1944.   The entire ten Boom family were imprisoned, although the six Jews hiding that day were never found and rescued by the Dutch underground three days later.

Their 84-year-old father died soon afterward.  “Corrie and her sister Betsie were remanded to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp, near Berlin. Betsie died there on December 16, 1944. Twelve days later, Corrie was released for reasons not completely known.”

Corrie ten Boom returned home and set up a rehabilitation center for those that had been in concentration camps.

In 1946, she began a worldwide ministry.  In 1971, her best selling book, The Hiding Place was published.  In 1975, a movie was made based on her story.

Ten Boom traveled to at least 60 countries, sharing her story of survival and seeking God. Throughout her travels, she shared her experiences of assisting the Jews, being arrested and living in the concentration camp.

One day ten Boom was sharing her story and discussing God’s power for forgiveness.  She stated that forgiveness was like “letting go of a rope, but when you do the bell keeps ringing.”

One day she had been speaking, and when she finished a man approached her.  She said that everything immediately flooded back to her.  He was one of the “most cruel guards” at the concentration camp she was at.

     She said “my blood began to freeze”.  The man struck out his hand and asked for forgiveness, stating he was now a Christian and had asked God to allow him to ask one of his victims for forgiveness.

Corrie ten Boom stood there frozen in place.  She had just been speaking of forgiveness but was unable to forgive herself.

She said, “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. “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,” Jesus says, “neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. “

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. “

Corrie ten Boom recounts the following:

“Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.” And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust out my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!” For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then. But even then, I realized it was not my love. I had tried, and did not have the power. It was the power of the Holy Spirit.

Corrie ten Boom said, “To forgive is to be like Jesus… He bought your forgiveness and modeled how we should give it… You get past the bitterness by refusing to hang onto it.”

          Corrie ten Boom reminds us that if Christ can forgive, so can we.  After all, Christ forgave even while he hung on the cross.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”   {Luke 23:34}

So, when we struggle with forgiveness, we can take a lesson from Corrie ten Boom and ask the Lord to assist us.

Have you struggled with forgiveness?


Corrie ten Boom was proof that we can #forgive with Christ help Share on X





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