It’s amazing what love can do. It can heal. It can give hope. It can restore one’s worth. It can save lives. Think of the woman in John 8. She had been caught in bed with a man who wasn’t her husband. According to the law, the religious leaders were within their rights to stone her to death. But they brought her to Jesus, and he chose love.
I’ve been there. Guilty of so many things I can’t list them all. By all rights, I should be condemned, hated – at the very least, I should not be trusted. But my friends brought me to Jesus, and he chose love.
In Chapter 13 of The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom takes us into Ravensbruck – a devastatingly brutal concentration camp in Germany. To call the treatment of the prisoners inhumane is an understatement. Over the course of the war, scores of women were degraded, abused, and neglected. The prisoners lived much like beaten animals. The Nazis certainly showed them no love – and little mercy. And it reflected in the actions and attitudes of many of the incarcerated women. Just as a wounded dog bites when it’s threatened, when Corrie and Betsie ten Boom marched into their barracks at Ravensbruck, the other prisoners barked and snapped and fought. But then, love walked in…
Corrie’s sister, Betsie, was amazingly Christ-like. What do I mean by that? She had this way about her that no matter how cruelly she was treated, she didn’t possess the ability to grow angry. She saw through the person’s actions or words to the heart of them – the pitiable lack that allowed them to act or speak in such a way. And always, always, she responded in love. That powerful love transformed those who were open to it – which happened to be the women of Barracks 28.
Follow the story with me—
“As the rest of the world grew stranger, one thing became increasingly clear. And that was the reason the two of us were here. Why others should suffer we were not shown. As for us, from morning until lights-out, whenever we were not in ranks for roll call, our Bible was the center of an ever-widening circle of help and hope.” (location 3614)
“Betsie or I would open the Bible. Because only the Hollanders could understand the Dutch text, we would translate aloud into German. And then we would hear the life-giving words passed back along the aisles in French, Polish, Russian, Czech, back into Dutch. They were previews of heaven, these evenings beneath the lightbulb.” (location 3742)
“Lights-out blew and the scramble into the bunks began….What a difference since Betsie had come to this room! Where before this had been the moment for scuffles and cursing, tonight the huge dormitory buzzed with ‘Sorry!’ ‘Excuse me!’ And ‘No harm done!’” (location 3825)
Folks, only love has the power to take utter hopeless desperation in the midst of savage darkness, and turn it into love, hope, and light. Only the love of Jesus living through Corrie and Betsie, among tens of thousands of women… The Word of God says that the rest of the world will know that we are Christians by our love. I want to have a love that powerful.
This post is part of a weekly discussion on Corrie ten Boom’s classic, “The Hiding Place.” You do not have to read the book to weigh in on whatever topic is being discussed. However, if you have written a response to this week’s chapter, go visit Jason, my co-facilitator, at Connecting to Impact, to link it up at the widget and to see what he has to say.