The Greatest of These is Love - Part 1 (Transcript)

Announcer: Today, on Family Talk:

Corrie ten Boom: You all have heard of that terrible time that we have had in Holland when the Germans came and they intended to kill all the Jewish people. We started to save as many as we could.

Roger Marsh: Welcome to today's classic edition of Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh, here with your host, psychologist and author, Dr. James Dobson. Dr. Dobson, on today's broadcast about this Christian hero, I know that our listeners will no doubt have their faith inspired.

Dr. Dobson: Roger, we're going to hear today from one of the great Christian ladies of the 20th century. Her name was Corrie ten Boom. Many of our listeners will have heard of her. She lived near Amsterdam, Holland under the brutal regime of the Nazis in World War II. Shirley and I had the remarkable opportunity to have dinner with Corrie ten Boom shortly before her death, and even then she could not talk about much else than the gospel of Jesus Christ and her love for people. Her memory is still inspiring to us after this period of time.

Roger Marsh: I'm sure it is.

Dr. Dobson: Corrie is such an inspiring example of faith under fire. We're going to hear a speech that she gave to a Christian audience many, many years ago, but it was probably later in her life. And she talked about her trial, her imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp called Ravensbruck, one of the worst. She goes into a lot more detail in her many books, especially the one called The Hiding Place. This is a book that was later made into a movie by the same name. If you get an opportunity to see it, you really must. As you could imagine, some of the things that she experienced at the hands of the brutal captors were truly horrific, but she also experienced God's grace and presence like many of us will never know.

She committed her life to Christ early and she remained faithful despite the incredible persecution that she went through, including the deaths of her family members. That's why it is so important for us to return to her story. It must continue to be known and told, and especially to the next generation. The teenagers, the children who are out there need to know how to deal with oppression and persecution. Frankly, none of us knows what the future holds and we may be called upon to endure for staying true to our faith. I'm one who happens to believe that it's likely that Christians in our time will suffer for our faith too, and maybe Corrie's words that we're going to air through a recorded message will help us to prepare for whatever the future holds.

Roger Marsh: You know, Dr. Dobson, Corrie ten Boom's story could be a great chance for us to start a dialogue about what it really means to be steadfast, no matter what's going on in the culture all around us.

Dr. Dobson: Well, as I said, Roger, and it really must be emphasized, this is a classic in the truest sense of the word. The message grabs at the heart, because despite all that Corrie went through, she was able to exude the love and forgiveness of Christ, even against her tormentors, everywhere she went. She went home to be with the Lord on her 91st birthday in 1983 and I believe she was in her eighties when she gave this particular message. Her years on this earth were almost finished by that time, but whenever she could, she told the story of the gospel with a power and conviction that only she could because it came from deep within her heart. So, Roger, why don't you introduce our program for the listeners today.

Roger Marsh: Happy to do so, Dr. Dobson. It's quite an honor. Our listeners are going to hear some of Corrie ten Boom's bio information as she tells her story, but let me add to that. After the war she traveled the world telling her story. She wrote 25 books, including The Hiding Place. That's probably her best known memoir. It was eventually made into a movie, and as Dr. Dobson just mentioned, if you have not seen the movie or if you haven't had the opportunity to share The Hiding Place movie with your kids and especially your teenagers, I urge you to do so. It's a great story about being a light in a very dark world.

Okay, with that, let's get started now. Corrie ten Boom's message, we're calling it today, "The Greatest of These is Love," right here on Family Talk.

Corrie ten Boom: I was the first licensed woman watchmaker in Holland. I repaired watches the whole day. I had the jewelry store together with my dad and I could sell good watches. When you came to me I could tell you, "Now, when you buy this watch and it is so good, that even if it makes a difference of two minutes in a month, you come back and I can change it." But then I thought later, "I hope I have not boasted too much about my watch. What must I do when it makes a difference of five minutes in a week?"

You know, I do not sell watches anymore, but I sell the Gospel. And I'm so glad that when I tell very much about the great joy and love of the Lord, then I can never boast too much, for the reality is far and far greater than I can tell you and you can tell me. And I hope that when we come in heaven and we look back at this time, we will not be ashamed that we have so left as beggars. And we are king's children, tremendous rich, and that's why I am so glad that I can tell you a little bit what I experienced.

You all have heard of that terrible time that we have had in Holland when the Germans came and leader Adolf Hitler and he intended to kill all the Jewish people. We started to save as many as we could. I had never planned it, but God had planned it. After some time, I had [00:07:04 inaudible] of 80 people, 30 teenager boys, 20 teenager girls, 20 men, and 10 women. And one of my bravest boys was [Pete Hotoff 00:07:18] and Pete said that evening, "I believe we do the most important work that exists. Just saving lives from the morning till the evening." "But Pete, there is a work that is more important even than saving lives, and that is saving souls and tell the people about the Lord Jesus Christ."

And then Pete smiled and Pete said, "I'm a Christian boy. I go to church, I read my Bible and I pray, but telling people of Gospel, telling them about Jesus, that is good business for my pastor." I said, "Pete, every Christian is called to be the light of the world and every Christian must be ready to tell the way of salvation to anyone who needs it and in your time, in your life, Pete, there'll come a time that you will see it, the most important work for you, to win souls for Jesus Christ and to show that the way of salvation by believing in Jesus and inviting him into your heart."

Half a year later, Pete came into prison. And when he came into the cell he heard that he had only one week to live. And a day before he was shot he wrote us a long letter. And Pete wrote, "I am seeing now that the most important work for a Christian is to win souls for eternity." Say, young people, I have a message for you from [Pete Hotoff 00:09:03]. Don't wait till the last week of your life like he has done, but give your life today to the Lord and say, "Lord, use me." And my, when you really will be used to win souls for Jesus Christ once, when you enter the beautiful city and the saints all around you appear, many of them will tell you, "it was you that invited me here." Boy, that will be joy. Then you will know that you have not lived in vain.

Once there came a man to me and said, "Will you save my wife? She is arrested. She has saved Jewish people and now she is in the police station and there is one policeman who will run the risk to set her free if we pay him 600 gilders, but I have no money." I said, "Oh, man. What does money say? But see, I have to 200 gilders, come back after an hour." And in that hour I asked all my friends, "Say, have you money? Give it. It means to save the life of a good woman." When that men came back, I gave him 600 gilders. That man was a quisling, a betrayer. His wife was not at all imprisoned, but the Gestapo, the police of the enemy, had said, "Find out if Corrie ten Boom saves Jewish people." He only thought, "I can do it and make some money." He went home with 600 gilders.

But five minutes later, the Gestapo surrounded our house and we were all arrested. Later, when I was in concentration camp, there came a prisoner from my home town and she said, "Say, do you know who has betrayed you?" I said, "No." And then she told that it was, "That man," and there came hatred in my heart. The man I had given my last penny, but I know from the Bible that hatred means murder in God's eyes. But I also know from the Bible what to do if you've murdered. When we confess our sins, when we repent and ask forgiveness, then he takes such a sin and casts it into the depths of the sea. Forgiven and forgotten. That's what the Bible says. The Bible doesn't say, but I believe he put a sign, "No fishing allowed." True.

And you know, when I had repented of that sin the Lord cleaned my heart with his blood. And a heart cleansed by the blood of Jesus he fills with the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love. Love even for enemies. And instead that I hated that man, I loved him. And after the war, that man was sentenced to death because he had caused the death of many Dutch people. And when I heard that I wrote him, "Your betrayal has meant the death of my old father, was 84 years old when they brought him into prison. After 10 days he died. My sister, who died after 10 months terrible suffering. My brother, he came out to life but a sick man and died through the sickness. And his son never came back. I myself have suffered terribly in three different prisons, but I have forgiven you and that is because Jesus is in my heart. And when Jesus tells you to love your enemies, he gives you the love that he demands from you."

And I sent that man the New Testament and underlined the way of salvation. And that man wrote me, "That you could forgive me is such a great miracle that I have said, 'Jesus, when you give such a love in the heart of your followers, there's hope for me.' And I have read in the Bible that you send me, that Jesus has died at the cross for the sins of the whole world. And I have brought my terrible sins to Jesus.'" There are two kinds of love, human love and God's love. Human love fails on the long run, but God's love never fails. It can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen. And in my life all else had fallen.

I stood in roll-call in a concentration camp Ravensbruck, where 97,000 women were killed or died, also my sister. When I stood there on roll call, one of the guards used her time to demonstrate her cruelties. I could hardly bear to see or to hear what had happened in front of me. But suddenly a skylark came and he started to sing in the sky and all the prisoners looked up. And when I looked up, I looked at the sky and then I thought that Psalm 103, where it's written, "As high is heaven over the earth, so far is God's love and mercy over all that fear him."

And suddenly I saw it, oh, love of God, how deep and great. Far deeper than men's deepest hate. God sent that skylark three weeks daily exactly during roll call time, to turn away our eyes from the cruelty of men and to the ocean of God's love. How can you and I understand God's love? At the cross, at the cross. When I first saw the light and the burden of my sins rolled away, it was there by faith I received my sight. When we look unto Jesus, we understand when we look at a cross what an ocean of love He has for you and me.

I was questioned by a man in whose hands my life was. He was my judge. It was wartime. And if that man should I had to be shot, I should have been shot. He asked me much about my spare time, about what my certificates, and I told him all. When he asked me about my misdeeds, I did not tell him all. He has known only of eight Jews that I had saved and I hope that there were more than 800. But when he asked me about my spare time, I told him about that work that I had with feeble-minded children in my little booklet, Commonsense Not Needed. You can read about it.

And when I told that, the man said, "What a nonsense. [00:17:15 inaudible] more value to confer to normal person than an abnormal one?" And I said, "If you should know Jesus, you should know that he has a great love and concern for everyone who is in need. It is possible that the poor feeble-minded child has more value in his loving eyes than you and I together." And he was angry and he called a policeman and said, "Bring her back to her cell." But the next day I was again brought to him and then he said, "I could not sleep this night. I had always to think of what you told about Jesus. There's time enough for the questioning. First you must tell me what you know of Jesus." Boy, that was a chance.

I said, "Jesus is a light come into this world, that everyone who believes in him does not remain in darkness." And I asked him, "Is there darkness in your life?" That man said, "Darkness. There's no light at all in my life." And I brought him the old, old story of Jesus and his love. After me, Betsie, my sister, was questioned. With great joy, she testified to her faith and she told about Jesus and then she said, "It is important to speak about Jesus, there's more important to speak to him. Do you allow me that I pray with you?" And he said, "Yes," and she prayed with him. The prisoner with her judge. Five times Betsie was questioned, five times she prayed with that man. Betsie died in prison.

But after the war I met that judge and God touched the heart of that man and he became a friend instead of an enemy. But he had to do his job. And suddenly he showed me papers found in my house and to my horror I saw names, addresses, and particulars. That could mean my death sentence and the death sentence of my family and my friends who were in prison. You will say, "How was it possible that such dangerous papers were found in your house?" But I must tell you that my teenagers have done a tremendous, courageous job, but they were not always careful, and so it happened that these terrible papers were found in my house. The judge said, "Can you explain these papers?" I said, No, I can't." And I felt deep unhappy. But he knew how dangerous they were and suddenly he turned, opened the door of the stove and he threw all the papers into the flames. Oh my, how happy I was. I should never have believed it if you should have told me.

That moment when I saw the flames destroy these horrible papers. It was I think for the first time I understood Colossian 3:20, where it's written that Jesus has taken the handwriting of ordinances that was against us. Has taken them out of the way and nailed them at the cross. Say, do you realize that there are dangerous papers for you? Do you realize that in heaven all our sins are written down? And we have all to come for the judgment day of God, and if we have refused Jesus Christ in this life, the judgment day will be terrible for we will have to repay and to carry the punishment for our sins. But when we have found Jesus Christ as our lord and savior in this life, we have nothing to fear, for we will find out that Jesus has taken all our sins and nailed them at the cross. Hallelujah. What a love. What a Savior.

Dr. Dobson: What a Savior indeed. That was Corrie ten Boom speaking probably 35 years ago, maybe 40, as she recounted her terrible experiences in a Nazi prison camp in Ravensbruck. She was put there for having helped save the lives of Jews and she said there that she thought that she might have been instrumental in saving as many as 800 of them. She loved everyone and she loved Jesus Christ. She even loved those who persecuted her and she is an example for all of us. And Jesus will do that for us. He has taken our sins and nailed them to the cross, and he did it because he loves us and wants us to spend eternity with him. And if you don't know him like that, if you've never met him, if this message has touched your heart and given you a desire to know this Jesus who gave his life for us and suffered on the cross that we might have eternal life, I urge you to approach Him today. It's not that difficult. All you have to do is ask.

Right in the midst of whatever is going on in your life right now, invite Jesus into your heart, and let him teach you how to love like Corrie ten Boom did. If there are people that you are angry with, if there are people that you want to hurt, if there are people that you have a murderous hate for because they did something terrible to you, let Jesus take it and deal with it. And if you do that, we really would like to hear from you. I hope that you will call and share your story with us. And Roger, you can give everyone the contact information they need.

Roger Marsh: Indeed, and Doctor, as you referred to the power of this message, I've got to say that I have never heard this before and it really just touched my heart. And I know there are a lot of our listeners who might be hearing this for the first time too and they're having that same experience. The love that Corrie ten Boom exudes is really ... you can touch it. You can sense it, you can feel it, even three decades after she first shared it with you.

And friend, if you're listening right now and you want to share how Corrie ten Boom's story has changed your life, how it's moved you, please get in touch with us. The number to call is (877) 732-6825 and there's one of our Family Talk staff members ready to take your call anytime day or night. Again, that number is (877) 732-6825. Now, if you prefer, you can reach us online. Our web address is, or you can go to our Facebook page at Also, if you want to learn more about the life of Corrie ten Boom, I encourage you to follow the link on our broadcast page at And of course, we invite you to tune in again next time because there's still so much to share in this recorded message. Believe me, you do not want to miss the conclusion of this inspiring testimony, so we'll see you right here next time on Family Talk

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.

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