Breathing Forgiveness

Tammy De Ruyter

READ : Matthew 18:23-35

And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? (v. 33)

Few atrocities have been as horrendous as the Holocaust. It is difficult to understand
cruelty and suffering on such a scale. Corrie ten Boom survived the Ravensbruck death
camp, but her emotional scars ran deep. Jesus healed her heart and Corrie dedicated the
rest of her life to sharing God’s love and forgiveness with others.

One night, after a speaking engagement in Germany, a man approached. He had been a
guard at Ravensbruck but was now a Christian. “I know that God has forgiven me,” he
explained, “but I would like to hear it from your lips as well, Fraulein. Will you forgive
me?”

Corrie writes that she stood there with “coldness clutching her heart.” She knew
forgiveness was a scriptural command, but the emotions to act were not there. Thinking of
all that God had forgiven her, she cried, “I forgive you, brother!” Immediately the power
of God’s love surged through her. She writes, “Forgiveness is not an emotion, but an act
of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”

Like the servant in Matthew 18, we have been forgiven much. Sometimes we simply must
will ourselves to forgive others. Like breathing in and out, we receive and extend this
gift. Forgiveness is like air: life depends on it.

PRAYER

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. Amen.