Why do you keep ringing that bell?


Have you ever read the story of Corrie Ten Boom? She was a Holocaust Survivor. Corrie was in a concentration camp with her sister. They were mistreated and eventually her sister died.  There was a guard that mistreated Corrie and her sister for many years. On one particular day she was scheduled to die and somehow they made a mistake and released her from the camp.   For many years she held unto what that guard had done to her and replayed it over and over in her mind.

Have you ever seen those beautiful large bells and how beautiful they sound when you pull on them?  She used an illustration of letting things go. Well the ringing of the bell was her feelings that continue to remind her of what was done. Once she began to let go of the rope, the noises of the bell seem to begin to slow down and eventually stop. Meaning her feelings began to subside and she no longer heard the noise.

Well forgiveness is like letting go of the bell rope. It is not easy to just stop pulling on the rope.  I can relate in being a professional at pulling that rope.  Many years of my life I recall being so angry at my step father for all he had done to me.  I believed that if I forgave my dad that it meant that what he did was okay.  See, forgiveness is not about what was done to you it is about letting go of the person that did what they did to you. That sounds so simple right? Wrong, if I can be completely vulnerable here, whenever anyone has done something to me, it has always been a challenge to just let it go.

I held my position my at the bell post and God called out things pertaining to my stepfather and I refuse to leave the position.  This was an area of my life that was dead to me.  My heart was calloused and there was no heartbeat there.  When the Lord asked me to forgive, I was having a tantrum and refused to give him that area of my life.  I believed that if I trusted once and people hurt me then there would not be a second chance and basically your dead to me!

When the Lord asked me to forgive, I refused to give him that area of my life.  Then he gently reminded me, “I have forgiven you and have not turned my back or closed my heart towards you”.  That was like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz where the witch is saying, “I’m melting”.  It was one of the toughest things for me to do.It was really hard to forgive and even today I have to remind myself, “Let it go”.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting. Forgiveness is a process that can take years to overcome.  By extending forgiveness it doesn’t make things right or say that the person who caused the offense won’t do it again. Or that the person will ever come to you and ask for your forgiveness.  You may be saying Sandy, “You don’t understand what this person did” or maybe this person continues to hurt you.  Please know I don’t expect for you to be a doormat and allow that person to continue hurting you, not at all!

I knew I could not do it in my own strength and needed help.  I am reminded of the words that he said as he was laying on that cross, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.  He chose to forgive even with what was happening to him. I wish I could say that I have been that quick to forgive, but I am working at letting it go a lot faster than where I once was.  I have resigned of my position at the post.

So are you ready to stop pulling on the rope?  I promise you it takes a lot more energy continuing to remind yourself of what was done versus releasing it to God and allowing him to teach you how to forgive.

Beloved, I am not sure what you are facing today but God knows.  He is such a gentleman and extends a hand in the process to help you forgive.  Maybe your father or mother abandoned you, or maybe you experienced some type of trauma, or you’re in a relationship that person continues to hurt you. Or just maybe you need to forgive yourself!  Whatever it is God is here and says, “It’s time to let go”.  He will be right there as you release it to him and will help bring healing and restoration to your heart.

Life Application

  • Identify if you’re a professional at pulling on the rope or have a position at the bell post
  • What are those areas that you have held unto to, that it is time to give to him.
  • Allow the Lord to bring healing and restoration to those areas of your life.
  • Share with someone so that they can help walk alongside this process.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13, NIV).

I pray this has ministered to your life.  Help me by sharing it to someone who can use a word of encouragement!

Be Blessed,

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!


“That Giant”

I remember being bullied throughout middle school by these twin sisters and everyday after school they would wait for me to get off the bus and just terrorize and push me around. At times I would get off the bus first and power walk home.  I could hear them calling me names from afar and those feelings of fear paralyzingly me.  I would have nightmares of these girls just taunting me and could hear their laughter.  This reminded me of the story of Goliath.  He would terrorize the Israelites, laughing and mocking them from morning until night. By terrorizing them it created fear and kept them from going up against him.

As I was reflecting this morning, I asked myself “What are the giants in my life that terrorize and try to paralyze me”? Many different ones came to mind: fear of failure, maybe not having clear direction about certain things with my career or life.  Or certain health issues that have popped up and allowing fear to take root in my heart, due to fear of the unknown.  All the while I am in the waiting room, anxiously waiting for the doctor to tell me the diagnosis of all of my different emotional symptoms.

How many times in our lives have we allowed fear to taunt us, nibble at us and destroy our peace and faith?  How many times have we made those giants look bigger than who God is?  David went up against Goliath and he was a scrunny little guy.  He tried to use his own weapons at first, but it was that one stone that knocked Goliath down.

So I probe this question “What weapons are you using: your human strength, fillers, are you running in the opposite direction when things come up, crumbling under pressure or will you pull out that one stone and knock that giant down?”

One day as I was getting off that bus I finally had the courage to stand up against the twins and took my umbrella and came out swinging.  The twins were shock and a little taken back.  After so many different incidents I decided to take a stand that day.  Do you know that they never messed with me again!

Remember God is bigger than that giant!  He has given you the stones (promises) to fight against them and so take comfort that “He is with you”. Take the stand today and pull out your stone and knock that giant down!

Isaiah 41:10: “Don’t fear because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand”.