By Corrie Ten Boom 1892-1983
Forgiveness is letting go of a bell rope.
If you have ever seen a country church with a bell in the steeple, you will remember that to get the bell ringing you have to tug awhile. Once it has begun to ring, you merely maintain the momentum. As long as you keep pulling, the bell keeps ringing. Forgiveness is letting go of the rope. It is just that simple. But when you do so, the bell keeps ringing. Momentum is still at work. However, if you keep your hands off the rope, the bell will begin to slow and eventually stop.
Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Corrie Ten Boom 1892-1983 Cornelia “Corrie” Ten Boom (Amsterdam, 15 April 1892 – Placentia, California, 15 April 1983) was a Dutch Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II and was imprisoned for it. Her most famous book, The Hiding Place, describes the ordeal.
In 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Among their restrictions was banning a club which Ten Boom had run for young girls. In May 1942 a well-dressed woman came to the Ten Boom door with a suitcase in hand. She told the Ten Booms that she was a Jew and that her husband had been arrested several months before and her son had gone into hiding. As Occupation authorities had recently visited her, she was afraid to return home. Having heard that the Ten Booms had helped their Jewish neighbors, the Weils, she asked if she might stay with the family. Ten Boom’s father readily agreed. A devoted reader of the Old Testament, Casper believed Jews were the ‘chosen people,‘ and he told the woman, “In this household, God’s people are always welcome.” The family then became very active in the Dutch underground hiding refugees They provided kosher food for the Jewish refugees who stayed with them and honored the Jewish Sabbath.
Thus the Ten Booms began “the hiding place”, or “de schuilplaats”, as it was known in Dutch (also known as “de Béjé”, pronounced in Dutch as ‘bayay’, an abbreviation of the name of the street the house was in, theBarteljorisstraat). Corrie Ten Boom and sister Betsie began taking in refugees—both Jews and others who were members of the resistance movement, being sought by the Gestapo and its Dutch counterpart. While they had extra rooms in the house, food was scarce for everyone, due to wartime shortages. Every non-Jewish Dutch person had received a ration card, which was required to obtain weekly coupons to buy food.
Thanks to her charitable work, Ten Boom knew many people in Haarlem and remembered a couple who had a disabled daughter. The father was a civil servant, who by then was in charge of the local ration-card office. She went to his house one evening; when he asked how many ration cards she needed, “I opened my mouth to say, ‘Five,’” Ten Boom wrote in The Hiding Place. “But the number that unexpectedly and astonishingly came out instead was: ‘One hundred.’ ‘He gave them to her, and she provided cards to every Jew whom she met.