By Betty B. Gray
During World War II, Corrie and her sister Betsy were thrown into a Nazi concentration camp. Their crime was hiding Jews in their home. The ten Booms were godly people who saw the unjust treatment of Jewish people, and for that they risked their lives.
When Betsy was dying in the concentration camp, she made Corrie promise that she would speak to others, telling their story. When Corrie was released, she began speaking to fulfill that promise.
“I Cannot Forgive”
On one speaking engagement, Corrie spoke on forgiveness. After this message several people lined up to speak to Corrie. In this line was one of the most notorious, heartless, and cruel German guards she had encountered while she was in the camps.
The guard extended his hand to Corrie and said, “O Sister Corrie, isn’t it wonderful how God forgives!” Corrie recalled, “I stood there with coldness and hatred in my heart, remembering Betsy dying in prison, Pappa dying in prison, and I said, ‘Dear God I cannot forgive this man.’ Then God whispered to me, ‘I know Corrie, you cannot, but I can. Stick out your hand.’”
“Set a Prisoner Free”
Corrie said had it not been for a lifetime of obedience to God that she could never have extended her hand. “I reached out my hand to this evil man, and I experienced an incredible thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arm and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“‘I forgive you, brother,’ I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former ungodly guard, the former prisoner. I have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that moment.”
If you cannot forgive someone, remember it does not hurt them, it only hurts you.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free . . . And discover that prisoner is you.”
—Corrie ten Boom
Betty B. Gray is the director of Encourage Me Ministries and nationally performs living dramas of women of the Bible and great women of the faith. Betty is a widow with two daughters, five grandsons, and two great-grandchildren.