During the dark days of World War II, there was a family who rose up and tried to make a difference. This family was the Ten Booms. As the Nazis invaded Holland, bringing terror with them, the Ten Booms began to help the Jewish people. During this time of great persecution, the family began to hide Jews in their home and shuttle them out of the country.
Finally, the dreaded day came for the Ten Booms. Nazi officials entered their home and arrested the entire family. As a result of their resistance to this foreign persecution, they were imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. Two of the daughters of the family were placed in the same death camp. Despite the death, pain, persecution and torture they witnessed, these two sisters never lost their faith and love for God. Their belief in God was so strong they even began to minister to others in this camp. But the day finally came that the German officials killed Corrie Ten Boom's sister. Many years later, Corrie was speaking at a church in Europe. When the service had concluded, a young man began to walk toward the lectern. As Corrie saw this man, a flood of emotions washed over her. All the pain and loss resurfaced. For he was the German soldier who helped to kill Corrie's sister. As the young man reached the lectern, he asked for Corrie's forgiveness for his actions during the war. This was one of the hardest requests that she had ever had. As she looked at him, she prayed for God's help.
This experience could have been her stepping stone or her tombstone.
As we travel on this pilgrimage called life, we are faced with many offenses and wrongs. At some point in your life, you will experience a time to become a stepping stone or a tombstone. Even today everyone will have a chance to become offended or to forgive. Your husband or wife may have offended you. The simple truth is, offenses will come! How you deal with them becomes our stepping stone to overcoming or our tombstone on the grave of unforgiveness. As Jesus was teaching on the mount, he gave his disciples instruction on what to do with an offense. Forgive! (Matthew 6:9-15)
But you may say to yourself, "I was offended." Jesus still says to forgive. Jesus' words here are very strong. He stated, "I will forgive you if you forgive others. If you do not forgive others, I will not forgive you." "How do I forgive?" is the question that now arises. It is simply by the grace of God. God is the only one who can give you the power to forgive. So ask him for His strength. There are also some practical things that we can do.
First, do not curse the offense. Thank God that even in the midst of the offense He will use it for your good.
Second, do not nurse it. Many times when the offense comes our way, we have a pity party. We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.
Thirdly, do not rehearse it. Usually when we are offended, we will rehearse the events to everyone who listen to us. Yes, you may need to talk to someone about what you have experienced, but do not continue to rehearse it with everyone.
Fourth, disperse it. How? Every day, ask God to take the offense. Ask God for the grace to forgive the one who has offended you. Then pronounce your forgiveness and pray for God's blessings upon the offender.
Fifth, God will reverse it! What was meant for evil against you can be turned around for your good. Jesus simply said to forgive. Call someone or write a letter today and release your forgiveness.
Today, you can have a stepping stone or a tombstone. The choice is yours!