In the book Soul Keeping, Ortberg wrote, “In order to make your prayer more profitable, it would be well from the beginning to picture yourself as a poor, naked, miserable wretch, perishing of hunger, who knows but one man of whom he can ask or hope for help. … These are true pictures of our condition before God. Your soul is more barren of heavenly treasure than the poor beggar is of earthly possessions.” And yet, isn’t it wonderful that God in His infinite mercy calls us His children and invites us to enter into His presence. It is sin that makes us “poor, naked and miserable” before a perfect and Holy God. Yet it is because He is perfect and holy that we can receive forgiveness and be made righteous.
Be Willing to Forgive
When others seek forgiveness, we must always be willing to forgive like Jesus. Remember the sobering words of Jesus in Matthew 6, But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15).
Corrie Ten Boom
One of the most powerful stories of forgiveness was shared by Corrie Ten Boom many decades ago in her book titled Reflections of God’s Glory.Because she helped protect Jewish people in her home in Amsterdam during World War II, she and her sister Betsy were sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Although her sister died, Corrie survived and lived to tell her amazing story. She shared that when speaking at a church in Munich, Germany, a former SS officer who had guarded her in the concentration camp began walking toward her. As he extended his hand what flashed before her were the horrors of her time at Ravensbrück, and the memory of the intense pain and suffering he had caused her and her sister. Because God knows our hearts—even our deepest secrets and sorrows—He knew what Corrie was battling within: “How can I forgive this man? Do I reach out and shake his hand? Am I able to do the seemingly impossible in order to obey God?” As she stretched out her hand to receive his, her anger and pain dissipated to joy, and through the power of the Holy Spirit she was able to miraculously forgive the one who had brought indescribable sorrow.
What Opportunities Surround You for Forgiveness?
Is there someone who has deeply hurt you? Do you need God’s help in order to forgive them? Don’t try to forgive in your own strength. You won’t be able to do it. Talk to God, let Him know you need His help, and trust Him to forgive through you. Remember, God is forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call out to Him.