Testimony of Corrie Ten Boom

Adapted from Corrie Ten Boom's sermon on forgiveness

Corrie Ten Boom’s sermon on forgiving the unforgivable

My name is Corrie Ten Boom, and my family helped the Jews in World War II. However, we were caught and sent to the concentration camp. One of the most terrible things I had to go through was when they stripped us of all our clothing and had to stand naked.

I told my sister, “Besty, I cannot bear this.” Suddenly, it was as if I saw Jesus hanging naked at the cross. The Bible tells us, “They took His garments…” Jesus hanged there naked, and I knew he hanged there for me, for my sins.

In my suffering, I understood a fraction of the pain of Jesus Christ, and it made me so thankful that I could bear my suffering.

Betsy was able to hide a tiny Dutch New Testament Bible on her shoulder pad. The sisters read from it in the evening while other women listened, undisturbed by guards who avoided the barrack because of the fleas.

Corrie and Betsy were thankful for the lice and fleas

The process of forgiveness began in the Ravenbrook camp. The Ten Boom sisters slept in an itchy bedbug, lice-ridden, and foul-smelling bunk beds. Corrie’s older sister Betsy always reminded her to “give thanks in all circumstances,” yes, including those pesky fleas.

Because of the infestation, German guards refused to stay inside, allowing them to have a sense of peace and freedom. Their cursed condition became a blessing. By being thankful for everything, they could overlook the horrible situation one day at a time.

The Ten Boom sister hated their condition, and the only way they could overcome it was to be thankful. But their gratefulness had to come with forgiving the Nazi soldiers for their inhumane treatment.

→ What happens to Christians when they die?

how to forgive
Corrie Ten Boom, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II by hiding them in her closet.

Look at the cross

Some are afraid to look at the cross. The cross is terrible, and how Jesus suffered in it is hard to describe. But you must not be afraid to look at it. At the cross is where I first saw the light, and the burden of my sins rolled away. It was there, by faith, that I received my sight.

→ Unbroken hero, Lou Zamperini.

Can you forgive a cruel man?

It was some time ago that I was in Berlin, and a man told me, “Ah, Miss Ten Boon, I am glad to see you, don’t you know me?” Then I suddenly realized that the man before me was one of the guards at the concentration camp.

He said, “I am now a Christian. I found the Lord Jesus. I read my Bible, and I know that there is forgiveness for all the sins of the whole world, also for my sins. I have forgiveness for the cruelties I have done.”

The man said further, “I have asked God’s Grace for an opportunity that I could ask one of my victim’s forgiveness, and Fraulein Ten Boom, will you forgive me?”

how to forgive
Ten Boom told the story of her family members and their World War II work in her best-selling book, The Hiding Place (1971), which was made into a 1975 World Wide Pictures film, The Hiding Place.

Why are we depressed?

Remembering the pain in the eyes of my enemy

At that moment, I could not forgive that man because I remembered the suffering of my dying sister, Betsy, through him. I suddenly realized that I did not want to forgive my enemy, yet Jesus forgave me.

Jesus said, “When you do not forgive those who have sinned against you, your Heavenly Father will not forgive you.” (Matthew 6:15)

I could only hate him, but then, I was reminded of one of the most beautiful texts in the Bible, “The love of God has shed abroad into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us” (Romans 5:5).

Forgiving your enemy is like touching the ocean of God’s love.

Richard Wurmbrand testimony.

Then I said, “Thank you, Jesus, that you have brought into my heart God’s love through the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Father, that your love is stronger than my hatred and unforgiveness.”

At that same moment, I was freed from my hatred. I could say, “Brother, give me your hand, and I shook hands with him. It was as if I felt God’s love stream through my arms. Forgiving your enemy is like touching the ocean of God’s love.

Jesus’ light is stronger than the deepest darkness,” Corrie Ten Boom

Look at the cross!

Is it easy to forgive? No! I can’t either, but Jesus can. What is impossible with men is possible with God (Luke 18:27). Look at the cross and see the forgiveness that Christ offers you. Forgive as He has forgiven you.

Mother loses all her children, and this is her response.
Seven examples of Jesus we should imitate.
Is Corrie Ten Boom still alive?

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