Last night I started watching a documentary about 77 year old Eva Mozes Kor, an Auschwitz survivor. Born in Romania and living now in Terre Haute, Indiana, she tells the unbelievable story of her and her twin sisters time in the Nazi concentration camp.
As twins, they were of special interest to the infamous Nazi geneticist, Dr. Josef Mengele. I cannot begin to justly describe the horrific and morally depraved environment endured by the many sufferers of Nazi experimentation. Allowing my mind to consider that time and place, even for a moment, results in great hatred for the cruelty our species is capable of. It is indeed difficult to find any redeeming connection to evil of that magnitude.
Yet, as horrendous as I find that story, it brings a huge amount of personal introspection. As the movie title suggests, Eva’s is a story of healing and forgiveness. She even went so far as to publicly forgive the Nazi’s for all the cruelties she endured at their hand claiming forgiveness as her path to healing. Now I’ll admit, it’s difficult for me to even find context for her experiences; I’m so far removed from the extremes of her story. The extreme abuse – and the extreme forgiveness. It’s almost like trying to mentally absorb the magnitude of the galaxy.
Shamefully, I’ve held drastically less significant offenses over the heads of people I love. I’ve refused to forgive people for things that, comparatively speaking, had almost zero negative effect on me. Not exactly Christ-like.
I’m reminded that as difficult as forgiveness may be, it is always possible and never easy.
I just have to choose it.