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The Love Itself

“Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
– Matthew 6:11-12, NIV

Corrie ten Boom was a watchmaker living in Haarlem, Holland. She was a devout Christian, and when the Nazis invaded her country, she longed to stand up for the Jews who were being targeted.

She devised a plan to help Jews escape from Holland. Since she was a watchmaker, her family’s tiny watch shop provided the perfect cover because people could come and go throughout the day without suspicion.

When Jews looking for refuge came to her store, she would guide them to her family’s home on the second floor. There, in a bedroom, was a hidden closet that could hold six people at a time. If there were inspections, Corrie would sound a warning buzzer throughout the house, giving the refugees time to hide.

But Corrie and her family were betrayed. She was sentenced to a concentration camp with her sister. After months of being in the prison, Corrie’s sister died. Two weeks later Corrie was released due to a clerical error.

Years later when she was sharing messages of God’s forgiveness at a church, a man approached her whom she recognized. He had been a guard at the camp where Corrie was. He greeted her and held out his hand.

In that moment, Corrie struggled with what to do. She sent up a prayer but couldn’t move a muscle. So, she prayed again, asking for the strength to forgive. She described the moment in her book, The Hiding Place:

“As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

“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.”

God, give me the strength to forgive my enemies. Grant me the love I need to fulfill Your command. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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