My son, now in his mid-teens, was known for a constant stream of questions as he was growing up.
“Do we all see colours the same?”
“Who made God?”
“Do you think cars will fly soon?”
There was one question that sticks with me that I heard him ask my wife.
“What is easier Mom — saying sorry or I forgive you?”
In April this year, I wrote an article about Corrie Ten Boom and her thoughts that “There’s nothing too great for God’s power and nothing too small for God’s love.”
Corrie’s life and faith is a wonderful example of forgiveness.
There was not an ounce of forgiveness in Corrie Ten Boom’s heart as she came face to face with her captor from the Ravensbruck concentration camp.
In church of all places, not only that, a church where she was speaking. Her stomach churned as memories flooded and she pictured her fragile sister Betsie, who passed away during their time there.
Her captor stood and faced her, letting her know he had become a Christian and had asked God for forgiveness for his awful actions.
He held out his hand as sign of and asked for forgiveness. She confessed it was the most difficult thing she had ever had to do.
Remembering the verse, “If you do not forgive, God will not forgive you,” Corrie decided to make a cold
decision — one that didn’t involve anything other than a decision to say, I forgive.
She lifted her hand, and as she did a healing warmth flooded her being. Corrie went on to say she had never felt God’s love so intensely. She found new kind of freedom, she was no longer a prisoner to hate.
Apologizing was easy for the captor, not because it came naturally to him.
It only came through the love of Christ
coming into his heart and him being truly forgiven for his wrongs, in fact he quoted back to her, the verse she had a just shared from Micah 7:19, “You will again have
compassion on us. You will overcome our wrongdoing. You will throw all our sins into the deep sea.”
When your blood runs cold at the thought of the offender, when anger rages, when rumination takes its toll on our physical and mental health, God asks us to forgive.
Trusting the person is very a different issue, but forgiveness is our responsibility.
In answer to my son's question, “What is easier Mom — saying sorry or I forgive you?”
My wife replied, “Ask your Dad.”
Phil Collins is pastor at Willow Park Church in Kelowna.