Concentration camp survivor and spiritual writer Corrie ten Boom died today in 1983.
The author of the classic The Hiding Place, with her family, hid Jews from the Germans in their house in Amsterdam during the Second World War. They were part of the resistance movement overseeing a network of 'safe houses'; an estimated 800 Jews were saved through their efforts. They were betrayed by a Dutch informant and the family were arrested, though the Germans failed to find the Jews hiding in their secret compartment.
Corrie's father Caspar died 10 days after his arrest. She and her sister Betsie were imprisoned in Ravensbruck concentration camp, where Betsie died.
After the war Corrie devoted herself to a ministry of healing and reconciliation. She became a national hero and a writer of profound spiritual insight.
1. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.
2. [On meeting one of her Ravensbruck guards after the war at a church service] He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. "How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein," he said. "To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!" His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
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.
3. Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.
4. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.
5. The tree on the mountain takes whatever the weather brings. If it has any choice at all, it is in putting down roots as deeply as possible.
6. If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.
7. Surely there is no more wretched sight that the human body unloved and uncared for.
8. A religion that is small enough for our understanding would not be big enough for our needs.
9. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.
10. There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still (Betsie's words before she died).