Romans Chapter 12

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

therefore, brethren – Because of what I have written in this letter up to this point, Christians,

I beseech you – I urge, exhort, or implore you, etc. In other words, what I have to say next is extremely important in your walk with Christ. So listen up and heed what I write here. Dedicate yourselves to following my instructions here.

by the mercies of God… because of the mercies of God or with the assistance of the mercies of God. Both are in view here—because we ought to please God because of his compassion, mercies, sympathy, etc., because He is God, Creator, Savior, Provider, Helper, Shield, Buckler, Shepherd, Lord, Present Help, etc. and he is our familial Father, thus Abba, the personal Title of our Father for His children.

that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service

What is a sacrifice? In this context, it is a victim that is brought to the altar. In the old Israelite sacrificial system, the victim was presented at the altar as a substitute payment for the sins the people had committed. As living sacrifices, we are to present our bodies to Christ to be used to do His will. He will not slay us as the priest would the sacrificial victim; rather He will use us to accomplish His will here on earth.

This is not an extraordinary thing we are asked to do; it is simply our normal duty to do God’s will. It is our job. While there may be times when we really do extraordinary things for Christ, what Paul refers to here is not the extraordinary things we may do, but just the service that we are ordinarily expected to do. This is not above and beyond the call of duty; it is simply our duty. Yes there may be times we are called to do what is extraordinary and what is above and beyond the call of duty, but being a living sacrifice is our regular duty. Accordingly, what we should do every day is to present ourselves to Christ to be used as His servant.

It should be noted that the word most often rendered ‘servant’ in the KJV New Testament, is δουλος, doulos, which literally means slave. As a servant or slave, we are to do the bidding of our Master or Lord, and He is Jesus Christ. When we are saved, we make Jesus our Lord and Master. Romans 10:9, tells us that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is our Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the Dead, we will be saved. In order to be saved, when must acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord (or Master, Sovereign, Liege, Potentate, Monarch, Commander, etc.) In other words, we belong to him; He owns us like a slave owner owns his slaves. We owe Him our fealty. He is, however, a Gentle Master Who loves us and therefore always wants the best for us.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

World = αιων, aion, age

Peter discusses 2 ages, the one before the flood, and the current one after the flood. See 2 Pet 3:5-7. Later, he alludes to another age, the one after the present age perishes, and a new heaven and earth are created. See 2 Pet 3:12-13. If these are considered the different ages of the earth, then the first age was from the creation of the earth (as well as the moon, the stars, and the universe) in Genesis until the flood, (2 Pet 3:5-7). The second age, the one we live in, is from the ending of the flood until the earth is destroyed by fire in the future (2 Pet 3:10; 12). The third age, will be an eternal age when the heavens and the earth, which were destroyed by fire, will be recreated and righteousness will dwell there eternally (2 Pet 3:13).

Using Peter’s description, the second age, the age from the flood until the earth is destroyed by fire in the future, is our present age. Since the word rendered age can mean several things including eternity, the universe, the world, or an indefinite period of time, we must use the context to determine its meaning here. While it does refer to the time period of the second age of the earth, it more properly refers to the world of men and all its ungodly enticements. Bunyan, with his Vanity Fair, does a very complete job of describing such a world:

Therefore at this fair are all such merchandise sold: as houses, lands, trades, places, honours, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms; lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts-as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not. And moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be deceivers, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues and that of every kind. Here are to be seen, too—and that for nothing—thefts, murders, adulteries, false-swearers, and that of a blood red colour. —John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, 1678, London

We are to avoid conformity with the ungodly things of the world of humans, and stick with godliness.

How? We are to be morphed or to change forms from the worldly person to the godly person; thus being transformed. This is not just an external change but a change of the whole person—inwardly and outwardly. The renewing of the mind means to do a total rejection of worldliness, and to make a 180 degree turn from evil to righteousness; for the things of this world that are without God are evil (John 3:17, 18, 19).

This is the standard. We are to reject the world and all its evil and turn to God and allow Him to guide us through the rocky paths in the world. When we fail in our endeavor to be apart from the world, which will happen at times, it is sin. Our sin has been paid for at the cross. We are to confess our sins to God and He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). That is by God’s abundant grace. However, let us remember Paul’s counsel: “Should we continue in sin that grace may abound? Absolutely not!” (Rom 6:1-2) We are not to be conformed to this world and sin is conformity to the world. We do sin, and Christ provided the remedy for sin, but we must strive daily to avoid all sin.

When we do not conform to the world, and we are transformed by the renewing of our mind, that amounts to proving what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. And what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God? Well it is everything that God wills in the whole of Scripture. Paul summed it up in the last verse, that we become a living sacrifice that is set apart from the world and acceptable to God.

The only way to continue to be that living sacrifice is to remain daily in the Word, and to pray over everything. Prayer is important, so important, that without it we will revert to conformity to the world. Pray silently at any time during the day for God’s help in your endeavors. Have a private time daily with God. Read the Scriptures daily. Don’t shrug this off. Don’t make the excuse that you don’t have time. Make time. Have that daily time alone with God. Christian, you cannot afford not to.

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

The glorified Jesus the Christ called Paul into the ministry and told him,”…rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Act 26:16-18). Jesus told Ananias in Damascus, “[Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Act 9:15). Paul had a commission from Christ, who is God, to bring the Gospel to the nations and to kings of nations.

Paul had authority from Christ, through His grace, to speak the things written here to all Christians. Speaking to the entire membership of the church at Rome, Paul said these things with that authority Christ gave him. This also applies to all Christians, including those reading this today. Paul’s authority extends to the church today.

The thought here is that we are all Christians and each of us has a special gift or gifts from the Holy Spirit. All of our talents, abilities, and gifts are from God. No one has the right to boast or think that he or she is better than anyone else. We are not to think that we are better than we really are. We are to have clearheaded knowledge of our weaknesses and our strengths. With our faith in God, the Holy Spirit will help us to understand that about ourselves. No one is better than another. Each has specific abilities from God and not from ourselves; we have not “lifted ourselves up by our bootstraps,” God has made us who and what we are. Paul explains more about this in the following verses.

Rom 12:4-5 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: (5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Paul discusses this in more detail in 1 Cor 12:12-27. The body of Christ is the church. We, the church are His body on earth. We are a body of believes fit together like the parts of the human body. What one part of the body does affects all the other parts of the body. If I break my leg, every other part of my body is affected by the one broken leg. For example, I may have to use crutches which will affect most of my muscles. My inability to walk without help may affect my ability to earn money in order to eat, have shelter, etc. Thus the hand, the eye, the head, the brain, the stomach, the legs and arms, etc. are all part of the body and they all are a part of each other and dependent on each other. So it is with the body of believers. This is why none of us should think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

Rom 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Our bodies have many parts, each with a specific purpose or purposes in order to function. Similarly, the Christian believers as a body, specifically in local churches, have different people employing different Spiritual gifts in order to function as Christ commands. Those gifts are distributed among the congregation by the Spirit according to the needs of that local body. These gifts are not given based of the merits of the men and women receiving them, but based on God’s grace. Thus a person with the gift of preaching is not better than a person with the gift of serving; they are both required for the church to function; as a result, they have the same standing in God’s eyes.

Prophecy and to prophesy are complicated subjects. Of course ‘prophecy’ is the noun and ‘prophesy’ is the verb form of the noun. They are basically the same thing. What a person prophesies is prophecy and when prophecy is revealed by a person, it is prophesying. Such a person is known as a prophet. So what is prophecy?

Obviously, the first thing we think of when we contemplate prophecy is predicting the future. Certainly that is the most understood connotation in ordinary English conversation; however that is not always what the Bible means when it addresses prophecy. There are many prophecies in the Scriptures that predict the future; but not all. In order to understand the gift of prophecy in the New Testament Church, let us list a few definitions.



1. Prediction of the future

2. Words spoken under divine inspiration

3. Words written under divine inspiration

4. The actions of a prophet


1. One who predicts the future

2. One who speaks or writes under divine inspiration

3. A spokesman for a specific cause, organization, movement, or religious group

4. The men who wrote prophesy in the Bible

5. The second division of the Hebrew scriptures



1. A prediction

2. A burden, an utterance, or an oracle

3. Prophetic writing


1. A spokesman, or speaker

2. A (divinely) inspired person



1. A Prediction

2. A discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God

3. The endowment and speech of the Christian teachers called prophets

4. Interpreting divine will or purpose

5. The utterance of one who interprets divine will or purpose

6. Inspired speaking granted to believers by the Spirit


1. A foreteller

2. An inspired speaker

3. An interpreter of oracles

4. One who speaks under divine inspiration

In most New Testament instances, prophecy is speaking under divine inspiration, such as a preacher, a teacher, an evangelist, or a witness. The following three definitions from Thayer best represent what the gift of prophecy means to the New Testament church:

1. One who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular —such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation.

2. Men filled with the Spirit of God, who by God’s authority and command in words of weight pleads the cause of God and urges salvation of men.

3. In the religious assemblies of the Christians, they were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, comfort, encourage, rebuke, convict, and stimulate their hearers.

— J. H. Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

Preachers, teachers, evangelists, or witnesses may all have the gift of prophecy. Anyone that speaks or writes under divine inspiration would have the gift of prophecy. Not the gift of foretelling the future, but the gift that allows them to be “moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, comfort, encourage, rebuke, convict, and stimulate their hearers.”

Rom 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

Let us examine each one of these gifts individually.

Ministry is service to others. That can manifest itself in many ways. The uninflected Greek word is διακονία, diakonia, the word from which we get our English word, deacon. Ministry can something as simple as serving tables. It can manifest itself in helping others to maintain their houses by painting, mowing grass, or doing minor repairs. Ministry can include anything from being the senior pastor of a large church to the person shaking hands with visitors at the doors of a church. Cleaning is ministry; cooking is ministry; calling folks on the telephone and encouraging people is ministry. Anything one can do to help others is ministry. One with the gift of ministry is naturally inclined to serve others cheerfully and honestly without expecting anything in return.

Teaching is easily understood. Our Sunday School teachers teach, our pastors teach, our music leaders teach, school teachers teach, parents teach. The Holy Spirit imparts certain individuals with the gift of teaching. This is an important gift. Without teachers our knowledge of God’s Word would be very limited.

Rom 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Exhorting; the Greek word for has several different meanings, which usually depend on context. Unfortunately, the context here lends itself to several different possibilities. Here is the basic set of meanings the word may have:

· To exhort

· To summon

· To admonish

· To entreat or plead

· To console

· To encourage or strengthen

· To comfort

· To teach or instruct

· To speak to others in any of the preceding senses.

Any of these would suffice in Paul’s writing. Some translations render the word exhort; others render it comfort; others render it entreat; still others render it to encourage. Thus it is a difficult verb to translate. In fact, the King James renders it 21 different ways. Of course in context, it may be rendered several different ways. All of these definitions have one thing in common. They are designed to change the hearer in a positive way. They are designed to point men to God and Godliness.

A preacher that stands in the pulpit several times a week is one “that exhorteth.” Sermons are prepared to motivate the listener to good works, to accomplishing the things God wants us to accomplish, to exercise the listener’s Spiritual gifts, to Bible study, to prayer, to evangelism, etc. Anyone with the gift of παρακλησει, paraklēsei, exhortation in the KJV, has the God-given ability to do these things and more.

The Greek word rendered ‘giveth‘ has a richer and deeper meaning than the simple English word. The Greek infinitive δίδωμι didōmi, (did’-o-mee) simply means ‘to give.’ However, the word used by Paul in this verse is μεταδιδους, metadidous, the present active participle of μεταδίδωμι, metadidōmi, literally to give over or to give with. A better English translation is to impart or to share.

So this is not just giving, it is sharing what we have with others. It also is an officer in the church—the person who distributes the contributions given by the church body. In many present-day churches that is the financial officer or the deacons. That is the initial reason for deacons, to distribute the offerings among the congregation (Acts 6:1, 2). This is a Spiritual gift; so it is a special type of giving, which is above our tithes and offerings. It is not just giving money, but items, time, food, work, helping others, etc. Not everyone has this gift, but we should all give our tithes and offerings whether or not we have the gift of giving. Those with this gift often go about unnoticed in our churches because they give and share privately, not wishing acclaim for themselves.

One who ‘ruleth‘ is one who leads or guides others. The Greek word literally means to stand in front of or to stand over. Leadership is a gift in the church. Leaders can be pastors, teachers, or simply the ones who are willing to take on a task and see it through until it is accomplished. Leaders can be those that lead people to Christ. Leaders are to lead with diligence or earnestly strive for the best outcome.

Showing mercy is having compassion for someone in need and actually acting on that mercy to alleviate the need of the needy one. It is not a feeling of mercy but one with the gift of showing mercy will take personal action on behalf of the one in need. A simple example would be an elderly person who needs the grass cut in his or her yard, but is physically unable to do. The one showing mercy would not only have compassion for the elderly person but will also go over and cut that person’s lawn or at least pay someone to do so and to see that the grass is satisfactorily cut. The person with this gift will always be willing to show mercy and will do so happily. People who have this gift are easily picked out of a crowd. Their cheerfulness is contagious.

Rom 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

After listing the Spiritual gifts, Paul now advises us how to live together peaceably in our congregations. The first and foremost requirement is love. Remember what Paul said about love concerning spiritual gifts in 1Co 12:31, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” He expounds of that more excellent way to use your gifts. Yes we should desire our Spiritual gifts, but…

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1Co 13:1-3 NKJV)

We must love others truly and it should not be feigned, our love must not be hypocritical—we should not say to people that we love them while in our hearts we do not really love them. We are commanded to love one another and even to love our enemies.

Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

True love, agape love, eschews what is ungodly and what is ungodly is really evil. That which is good is godly and righteous in the eyes of God. God teaches us the difference between good and evil. We instinctively know the difference and God wants us to choose what is good. We do have a choice between good and evil, which is a choice between life and death. (see Deut 30:19)

Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Verses 10-13 are one sentence: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” Let us examine the verses independently.

The phrase “kindly affectioned” is one word in the Greek. It is a word that means love between family members—parents, children, husbands, and wives. As members of a local body of believers, we are the family of God. It could also be construed as tender affection.

Thus our feelings toward other Christians in our congregation should be with the love and affection felt between us and the members of our biological families. Of course there are some biological families where there is little or no love between the members. Thus we may also associate this type of love with that between two people that are close to one another like best friends, fiancés, cohorts in battle, etc.

These situations are synonymous with brotherly love as well. In fact that is what Paul is doing here. He uses a synonym to augment its antecedent. Put another way, the verse might state, “Have tender affection for one another with brotherly love.”

The phrase, in “honour preferring one another” means that we must esteem others more than we esteem ourselves. It reminds us of the acronym J.O.Y.—Jesus first, others second, yourself last. That is just the opposite of the world’s thinking which places self-esteem above all else. While self-esteem is important, it is more important to not think yourself better than others and we certainly should not place ourselves above the Lord. Lucifer did that; consider what happened to him.

Rom 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

(Precede each clause with ‘be’).

Be active in the Lord’s work and have an enthusiastic spirit in the His service.

Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

(Precede each clause with ‘be’).

Hope is not that uncertain longing we have when we wish for something to happen, though that is certainly one definition of hope. Here hope is the certainty of future gain. Webster (1828) defines this type of hope as “Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises; a scriptural sense.” Merriam Webster gives this definition: “archaic : to place confidence or trust — usually used with in”.

So our hope is not dreaming, it is the fact that a future event will occur. Paul intoned that faith is the essence of our expectation of the unseen future (Heb 11:1). Though this future is unseen, we know it. We know that our hope is an eternal life in the presence of God with all the benefits of such presence. That gives us every reason to rejoice.

Our hope in Christ and in Heaven also gives us the ability to patiently endure tribulation, affliction, persecution, or any kind of trouble. We must be persistent in prayer. Paul said to pray unceasingly (1 Thes 5:17) meaning to be ready to pray in any give circumstance at any given time; not just at church but wherever we are; not just on Sunday but any and every day.

Rom 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

We are responsible for the needy in our congregations. While the church is enjoined to help the needy wherever they are found, here we are specifically to meet the needs of fellow Christians when they are in need. We are to be cordial and generous to guests and strangers. It is an adverb form of hospitable and that means to be amenable, friendly, accommodating, and considerate to others.

Rom 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

It would be very difficult to bless someone who is preparing to behead you, but that is what the Scripture says to do. We must love them as God loved the world. He loved the world enough to provide a way for their salvation. We must have the same attitude so that people who see us while we are under persecution will be affected by our behavior, a behavior that seeks blessings for our persecutors.

Some modern translations have “Bless those who persecute you. Do not curse them; pray and ask that God will bless them.” (Or similar)

I cannot find any Greek manuscript that has “Pray that God will bless them.” This is apparently an error. Of course there may be a manuscript somewhere that has this. If so it may be a gloss. The verse simply states that we should speak well of our persecutors and not curse them. That is a tough thing to do. I really want to curse them.

Apparently some modern translators added this gloss because they seem to think that Paul was quoting Mat 5:44 but left out the pray for them part because he expected people to know the verse.

Here is what the NLT commentary says: “Although Paul does not introduce the commands as a quotation, he is almost certainly alluding to these sayings of Christ. Perhaps the words were so well-known that he did not need to specify the source.”

To me it is unwise to assume to know what Paul had in mind or what he was alluding to when he wrote this passage. That is to deem to put words into his mouth. This also takes away from the verse. It does not say that we should pray for God to bless them, but that we ourselves should bless them. It is our responsibility.

Mat 5:44 does not say that we should pray for God to bless them; is simply says to pray for them. I would pray that God would change their minds so they would stop the persecution.

It is best to translate the Scriptures without adding to the passage. Again, the verse does not enjoin us to ask God to bless our persecutors; it tells us to bless them ourselves. I would definitely ask God to give me the grace to bless my persecutors for in my flesh, I would much rather curse them.

Rom 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Be empathic with your brothers and sisters in Christ, that is, be sensitive to the feelings of others. Paul is teaching us how to have good relations with others in the church. Yet, the Golden Rule applies to all, not just Christians. We should be sensitive to the feelings of everyone we encounter. That is the Christ-like way to have daily relations with others.

Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Do not be conceited. Enjoy the company of others and do not put yourself above others in your own mind. Do not be “holier-than-thou” in your associations with others.

When the KJV translators lived, the word, ‘condescend’ had a different connotation that it does today. Today it has a negative implication. It implies that we think ourselves better that others and purposely hold our nose while dealing with lesser individuals—making it obvious to others when we do so. Here, the context is to always be friendly with others no matter what their station in life or their appearance is. The cliché, “don’t judge a book by its cover” applies here.

Rom 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

We are not to take revenge against our brethren. See verse 19. Let everything you do be honorable in the sight of others. Let your reputation be above reproach.

Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Christians should be men, women, and children of peace. Always first seek to have a peaceful relationship with everyone. However, there are times when that is not possible. If someone is determined to fight you, you may not be able to stop that person with peaceful overtures. You may have to fight or flee; flight is preferred but there are some occasions when conflict cannot be avoided. When that occurs, we may have to stand and fight. Yet, we should always seek peace, even when the odds are stacked against us.

There may also be a time when others will place conditions on our being at peace with them. If those conditions are unlawful, or go against the precepts of God, or cannot be accepted in good conscience, then peace may not be possible. However, that does not absolve us of at least trying to live peaceably with all.

Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

It is written in Deut 32:35, Psa 94:1, Nah 1:2, and Heb 10:30.

Do not seek revenge. We are to calm our wrath and not take it out on others. God will take vengeance when necessary. That may not be in this life, but in eternity. God already knows the future of each individual. The person we take revenge against may be on the verge of repentance. Great things may be in store for the person. It is not our right to avenge ourselves on anyone. Revenge is not justice. Justice is handled by courts of Law, and earthly judges, and ultimately by the One True Judge, God Almighty.

Rom 12:20-21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. (21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

This verse reminds me of Corrie Ten Boom. She was always loving to the other prisoners in the three concentration camps where she was imprisoned for helping Jews to escape the Nazis. She put her trust in God and made it through the horrors of the Nazi concentration camp. She tried to live peaceable there and did not seek revenge, for revenge was impossible in those circumstances. God did the avenging. Many Nazi war criminals were brought to justice after the war. As for heaping coals of fire on the head of her enemies, she lived as peaceably as possible.

After the war, she gave a message at a church in Munich, one of her captors came up to her. I will quote her story here:

“It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former SS man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing centre at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain blanched face.

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message Fräulein”, he said “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!”

His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.

I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your Forgiveness.

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 on 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.”

The Hiding Place, © 1971 by Corrie Ten Boom and John and Elizabeth Sherill

That, brethren is a very good reason we should not take revenge upon others. It also shows how a good woman overcame evil with good through Jesus Christ her Savior. It was said of Corrie Ten Boom that the truth she and her sister Betsie learned in the prison camp at Ravensbrück, Germany, was that “Jesus can turn loss into glory.”

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