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I had every intention of filling this space this week with an extended quote from Corrie Ten Boom. She went to the Ravensbruck concentration camp along with her sister, Betsie, during World War II for hiding Jews from Nazis. Betsie died in the camp. Due to a clerical error, Corrie was released a week before all the women her age were killed.

Years later, after Corrie spoke at a church in Germany about forgiveness, a guard from Ravensbruck who had since become a Christian came to her and asked her to forgive him. She called it the most difficult thing she had ever done, but as she extended forgiveness, “I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.”

But then I recalled what one famous expositor said about famous people and famous events. Most folks find it hard to identify with them. Most of us will never face life-or-death circumstances like Corrie Ten Boom did, and most of us will never have to forgive the monstrous crimes that she forgave.

In other words, that kind of heroism doesn’t seem to apply to us.

However, just about everyone reading these words knows what it means to carry grudges. Did you feel what happened with that shift of one word? Grudges. That drops the matter right in your lap. As Paul Harvey might say, “I’ve stopped preaching and gone to meddling.”

“Preacher, fix my husband,” the woman spit out her request to the evangelist.

“What happened?”

“Thirty years ago he did something.”

The forgiving spirit. Those who refuse it lug their religion around with them like a heavy chain.Those who enjoy it have tasted what it truly means to be free. “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14).

The Rev. Eugene Stockstill is pastor of Ebenezer United Methodist Church and Myrtle United Methodist Church in Union County.

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