Dr. Marc Drake, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Sun Lakes
During World War II, while spending several years in a German concentration camp, Corrie ten Boom was severely humiliated and degraded. When she was finally released she believed that, by God’s grace, she had forgiven even the guards who had so mistreated her. She began to share her story and the message of forgiveness all over the world.
One Sunday after she had spoken in Munich, Germany, Corrie was greeting the people when she suddenly saw a man coming toward her with his hand outstretched. He said to her, “It’s wonderful that Jesus forgives us all our sins, just as you say.” She remembered this man’s face. He was one of the leering, lecherous, mocking Nazi guards who had so humiliated her. Corrie’s hand froze by her side and she found herself unable to forgive. She thought she had forgiven everyone, but she could not forgive that guard standing there in front of her. She was ashamed of herself and prayed, “Lord, forgive me, I cannot forgive.” But as she prayed, something happened. Her hand was suddenly unfrozen. The ice of hate melted and her hand went out as she forgave her former enemy. What a powerful demonstration of God’s forgiveness flowing through an honest believer. We might call it the story of the unfrozen hand. But it was God who did the unfreezing. Sometimes people will say, “But I can’t forgive! The wrong done to me is too great.” But God doesn’t command His children to do something without also empowering them to do it. Major Ian Thomas, a Christian leader, used to put it this way: “You can’t. God never said you could. Jesus can. And He always said He would.”
Perhaps your hand needs to be unfrozen today. The good news is that God can do it. Romans 5:5 says, “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Our lives do not have to be hijacked by an unforgiving spirit – something that takes us places we never wanted to go, doing things we never wanted to do, and becoming people we never wanted to be. There’s a way out! Through Christ alone we can be brought into peace, joy, and true freedom.