In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom shares a true story of her experience in a church service in Munich, Germany. A former Nazi approached her to shake her hand after a church service. She spoke of the anger and resentment that boiled inside her as the man attempted to speak with her. She tried to smile and raise her hand to shake his, but she couldn’t. The unforgiveness wouldn’t allow it. But then she did something spiritual and noble, she prayed silently “Jesus, help me forgive this man. I cannot forgive him.”
She shook the man’s hand, and an incredible thing happened. What can only be described as a current passed from her to him, and her heart felt an overwhelming love and compassion for the man she thought impossible to forgive. She couldn’t forgive in her own strength, but could only do so with the help of God. She needed the Holy Spirit to come and help her forgive. I don’t think it’s possible to forgive people without Divine intervention.
Forgiveness is hard. We get stuck. We meditate on the offense. The anger continues to manifest in our behavior towards the person, and the unforgiveness lingers. But unforgiveness is like needle pricks of hatred – forgiveness, on the other hand, is a flaming sword of love. Forgiveness is powerful. It cuts through the hurt and pain, and it covers the memory.