“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.”
During World War II, Corrie ten Boom and her family helped Jews in Holland escape the Nazis. She and her family were taken to the Ravensbrück concentration camp when it was discovered that they were hiding Jews. Her sister and father died in the camp, but Corrie survived and was miraculously released which enabled her to tell her story.
One day, many years later she wrote the following:
“Forgiveness is like 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 pull the rope for awhile, after the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. Once it has begun to ring, you merely maintain the momentum. As long as you keep pulling, the bell keeps ringing. Once you let go of the rope, the bell will continue ringing, momentum is still at work. However, the bell will begin to slow and eventually stop”.
“I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When you forgive someone, you take let go of the rope. But if you’ve been tugging at your grievances for a long time, you mustn’t be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for awhile. After all, they have lots of momentum. But if you affirm your decision to forgive, that unforgiving spirit will begin to slow and will eventually be still. Forgiveness is letting go of the “rope” of retribution.”
Corrie Ten Boom (1892 – 1983)