In her memoir, Corrie Ten Boom explains the meaning of forgiveness through a powerful illustration. In a time of her life when she was struggling with anger and bitterness, she found it difficult to forgive those who hurt her. No matter what she did to forget the hurt committed against her, she continued to stew over the matters in her life until they festered into a poisonous cancer eating at her soul.
One day a Lutheran pastor helped her work through her frustrations. He told her, "Corrie, up in the church tower is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. When the sexton pulls the rope, the bell peals out ding-dong, ding-dong. What happens if he doesn’t pull the rope again? Slowly the sound fades away. Forgiveness is like that. When we forgive someone, we take our hand off the rope. But if we’ve been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn’t be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for awhile. They’re just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down."