Monday, July 02, 2012
This summer I decided to introduce dad's reading program to my own daughter. She is very sensitive and this book has some difficult topics and so I read the book aloud to her. I'm so glad that I did because I needed to read this book again.
The courage of this family and the amazing things they were able to accomplish with faith and little else is infinitely inspiring.
After hiding Jews for a year in their home, the ten Boom family is arrested. When they are interrogated, the Nazi in charge speaks to the elderly father Casper ten Boom and says, "I'd like to send you home, old fellow... I'll take your word that you won't cause any more trouble." Evenly and clearly Casper replied, "If I go home today, tomorrow I will open my door again to any man in need who knocks."
Friday afternoon a middle-aged man came to my own door, he was red faced, sweaty and trying too hard as he presented his proposal to paint address numbers on my curb. I have a "no soliciting" sign on my door and I'm very suspicious of strangers so I said "no" almost immediately. For two seconds I watched this man walk away, watched him sigh and watched his shoulders slump. It took some time to dawn on me, sadly, but I made a terrible mistake. I turned away someone in need, someone who I now feel sure is out of work and trying to feed a family.
We have limited resources and time to give and so it requires having the gift of discernment with us at all times to know where we should be and when we can help. In his important talk, Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall, Elder Oaks says, "We are commanded to give to the poor. Could the fulfillment of that fundamental Christian obligation be carried to excess? I believe it can, and I believe I have seen examples of this. Perhaps you have also seen cases where persons fulfilled that duty to such an extent that they impoverished their own families by expending resources of property or time that were needed for family members."
Most of us can probably share more than we do and that is certainly true of myself. This book is an example that charity is what is required and charity is something we can only give when we have His spirit with us.
Charity is also what is required to forgive. Last week in my Sunday School lesson, I used this scripture in D&C 50:24 "That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth birghter and brighter until the perfect day."
This scripture explains such an important principle. We are commanded to tithe, but we recieve the testimony of tithing when we keep the commendment or "continue in God". In the end of this book, Corrie ten Boom tells about an experience she has giving talks about the gospel of Christ. After one of these talks a guard who had terrorized and humiliated her in the Ravensbruck concentration camp came to her to shake her hand. After speaking of forgiveness she found that she could not lift her hand to shake his... so she prayed for help to lift her hand to his. "As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself."
I know this is true. I know that the word of God has the power to bring peace and hope in the darkness. I know that goodness and courage are spiritual gifts that our Father in Heaven can give us when we call on His name. I know that He knows each heart and every hurt and has the power to make us whole. I know that His love and compassion for each of his children is infinite.