The Power of Forgiveness

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.”

That’s a quote from Corrie ten Boom. I found myself doing a little bit of reading on her tonight. She was a Dutch Christian who, with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II; as a result, they were all ultimately arrested in 1944 due to an informant’s tip. Born in Amsterdam in 1892, she passed away here in Orange County, CA on her birthday in 1983. She was 91.

It’s an amazing quote to think about. Think about all this woman must have seen; one prison, two concentration camps, family that died during this time, persecution, and her release which — as she later learned — had been a clerical error.

Much of her teaching and writing focused on forgiveness, with her noting in a 1974 book that those who are able to forgive were best able to rebuild their lives.

How true this is.

She — a former prisoner — forgiving a former guard, and one of the most cruel.

Think of some of the burdens that you’re holding onto. Go ahead — we all have them. They might’ve become a little dusty over the years, but unfortunately they’re still there. They speak to us when we’re at our lowest, because they know they can get to us during those times. And they call out to us at our highest, determined to knock us off our perch.

Is it forgiveness that you owe yourself? Or someone else?

Either way, it follows that the best rebuilding can come from reconnecting — with peace. And peace is often a direct result of forgiveness.

Even after all she had experienced in life, I picture Corrie to have been a woman who tried to maintain a “water off a duck’s back” approach to life. Not that things didn’t affect her, because clearly they did — her teachings, writings, books and the movie made about her family’s experiences (The Hiding Place) are clear proof. But I imagine that she made a conscious choice to see the beauty in each day — sometimes because it may have been the only way to live to see another sunrise. I imagine that if something bothered her, she may have done a quick, split-second assessment: am I going to allow this to burden me? No? OK, then let’s move on.

The flip-side of her assessment: Am I going to allow this to burden me? Yes, I can’t shake this one…it’s fairly substantial. And I need help with it.

What do you need help with? It’s time to get rid of that something that’s been there for too long. 

We’re all worth so much more.

Tonight I am thankful for the knowledge that no man is an island, and that I can give any burden of any size to a being whose power dwarfs even the most seemingly significant burden that exists in my life.

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