- Exodus 1:1-2:15
“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew…” –Exodus 1:12, NKJV
On Twitter the other day, Angie Smith (@angiesmith19) shared a passage from the book “Prayer” by Richard Foster, describing a scene from a Holocaust concentration camp:
In the Ravensbruck Nazi concentration camp, the came where the estimated ninety-two thousand men, women, and children were murdered, a piece of wrapping paper was found near the body of a dead child. On the paper was written this prayer: ‘O Lord remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not only remember the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we bought, thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this. And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.'”
Forgiveness multiplied can’t help but attract attention. Of all the dark places in the world, those in a concentration camp saw the fruits of the Spirit magnified as they faced magnified, unwarranted horrors. And yet they forgave.
The church described in Acts 2 lived together as one. Let’s not fool ourselves into believing that the one who fidgeted didn’t annoy the quiet one, or the flutist’s practicing didn’t occasionally wake a sleeping baby to a mother’s dismay. Ask any married couple: living as one does not mean absence of struggle, annoyance, and strife. Living as one means understanding the bigger picture, working through the struggle and strife, and coming out stronger at the other side.
It is the conquering of the struggle, not the absence of struggle, that stirs the heart. May we be a forgiven people forgiving others.