We’ve already talked about the fact that abortion is not an unforgivable sin in God’s eyes. But God also can help us when it comes to the process of forgiving. His help can make all the difference, particularly when we may still be holding on to anger or bitterness towards those involved in our abortion decision.
Corrie ten Boom, the author of the book The Hiding Place, had an amazing encounter with forgiveness. She was in her 40’s during World War II, living in Holland. Corrie and her family knew that they would face prison if she were discovered helping Jews. That didn’t stop them from being part of Holland’s underground system that helped thousands of Jews survive the Nazi efforts to exterminate them.
One day a man came to her and asked her for money to help a Jewish woman escape. She gave him the money. This man was a Nazi agent and had set her up. She, her sister, and their elderly father were sent to prison and eventually wound up in a concentration camp. Corrie was the only family member to survive the internment.
At one point, she and her sister were forced to stand naked waiting for a shower while Nazi guards looked them over. Corrie felt great anger against these men. When her sister died in that camp, the anger grew. But God was with her. She was miraculously released and allowed to return home. After a while, the Lord specifically led her to begin a ministry to former Nazis. She was very good at this work and her loving nature resulted in many coming to know God.
While she was doing some public speaking about her ministry, a Nazi soldier from her former concentration camp came towards her after her talk. Upon seeing him, she was overcome with anger and wanted nothing to do with him. The man extended his hand to shake her hand and relayed the fact that he was now a Christian. He asked if she could forgive him.
In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie wrote, “Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness…. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”
Corrie knew that it would be impossible for her to forgive him without God’s help. God helped her forgive him and gave her the ability to shake his hand. She relays that a sudden rush came through her and as she, in an act of obedience, raised her hand to his, the warmth of God’s love flowed through her hand. God helped her forgive and accept that man’s hand as proof. It was very difficult, but with God’s help, she grew greatly in the Lord that day. One of her well-known quotes shares, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”
In giving our emotions to God, His love and forgiveness can come through our hearts to others. It’s amazing what God can do with our worst emotions. Ask Him for help, He is faithful.
The Hiding Place is a great book to read if you are struggling to forgive. There is also a movie version of Corrie’s story from the 1970s that may have a viewable version when you search for The Hiding Place.