Not counting the Bible, I’ve read Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom more times than any other book. The memoir contains stories from her worldwide travels. A particular one seemed appropriate today.
In it, Corrie ten Boom related how she traveled to a church in Munich, Germany, in 1947, to proclaim the message of God’s forgiveness to the defeated and bombed-out German people. She stated to them:
“When we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. And even though I cannot find a Scripture for it, I believe God then places a sign out there that says, ‘NO FISHING ALLOWED.’”
Afterward, the German crowd stood up and filed out, few daring to believe the message’s truth. None approached, except for one heavyset man who moved toward her.
Ten Boom recognized him as one of the cruelest guards at Ravensbruck, the concentration camp where she and her sister were imprisoned. She survived, but her sister died because of the guards’ cruelty.
The man stood in front of her and offered his hand. She fumbled in her purse, not wanting to shake it. Her message sounded glib to her ears at that moment. He admitted being a guard and then said:
“But since that time, I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well, Fraulein. Will you forgive me?”
Corrie ten Boom ignored the man’s hand, not being able to forgive because of painful memories. It was too big a hurdle, even though she knew she had to do it. So, she prayed:
“Jesus, help me! I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”
When their hands finally touched, God’s love flooded ten Boom. “I forgive you, brother, with all my heart,” she cried. Then she finished the story by adding:
I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then. But even so, I realized it was not my love. I had tried, and did not have the power. It was the power of the Holy Spirit …“The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:5)
This story communicates what God expects to happen when He squeezes inner cities and how forgiveness of white Americans will come by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Continued in Part 18)