Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col. 3:13)

CONCENTRATION CAMP SURVIVOR Corrie ten Boom had a lot to be bitter about. Sent to Ravensbruck during World War II for hiding Jews, she lived with lice and hard work and starvation. The Nazis even made their female prisoners parade naked before the guards. Corrie survived, but her father and sister did not.

Several years after Corrie was released, she spoke about forgiveness at a church in Germany. When her talk was over, she noticed a man approaching and recognized him as one of the guards at Ravensbruck. He held out his hand and asked her to forgive him, and she could not do it. But even though her heart was cold, she knew God wanted her to forgive her tormentor. She also knew that forgiveness is an act of the will and not an emotion. So she asked for God’s help and took the guard’s hand. At that moment, she released the bitterness and felt God’s love more intensely than she ever had.

We are sinners who deserve death, but God has forgiven us. He took our guilt and extinguished it on the cross. Now He asks us to forgive those who hurt us. Forgiving others frees us from bitterness and helps us feel God’s love more intensely.

Bitterness keeps a wound open, but forgiveness heals it. And isn’t that enough reason to follow God’s example?

Forgive someone who has hurt you.

Kathryn Page Camp enjoys photography, reading, and sailing Lake Michigan with her husband of thirty-five years.