I love this from Pastor Tim:
Simon Wiesenthal was an Austrian Jew imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two, and in his famous book The Sunflower he tells a riveting story of something that happened to him there. He was working in the field hospital at the camp one day when a German nurse came to him and ordered him to follow her. She led him to a room where a lone SS soldier – a twenty-one year old man named Karl Seidl – lay dying. Karl had been mortally wounded in battle and had asked the woman to bring him a Jew so that he could make his deathbed confession.
For the next few hours Simon sat in silence while Karl told him his story – a story of growing up in a Christian home which did not support Hitler, of joining the Hitler Youth at age fifteen because of pressure from friends, and then at eighteen joining the SS. He told Simon horrifying stories of the atrocities he had participated in as an SS soldier – rounding up Jews, driving them into a house and setting the house on fire, shooting people as young as six years old, and things like that. After several hours, Karl said that he knew of his guilt and wanted to confess all these things to a Jew and to beg forgiveness of him, so that he could die in peace.
Simon Wiesenthal could not find it in his heart to speak words of forgiveness in the face of such atrocities; he got up and left the room in silence, without responding to Karl’s request. But after the war he sent this story to fifty-three prominent thinkers – Jews, Christians, atheists, philosophers, professors, rabbis, ministers, and others – and asked them what they thought he should have done. Was there a way in which a person in his position could have offered forgiveness of some kind to a dying Nazi? Their replies make up the second part of the book The Sunflower. Twenty-eight of them said no, offering forgiveness in this situation is not possible. Sixteen said yes, there was some way in which forgiveness could have been offered, and nine were unclear. Interestingly, of the sixteen who said yes, thirteen were Christians and three were Buddhists. Jews, Muslims and atheists who responded were unanimous in saying no.
I wonder what you would have said or done in Simon Wiesenthal’s position? I wonder what I would have done?
Read the rest, better understand what Christ wills that we do and better understand what forgiveness is... and what it is not.