Hidden roots – hidden ways

By Dave Henning / April 4, 2023

“We should assume that we are more resentful and less forgiving and more controlled by what people have done to us than we think we are.  Hidden roots work in hidden ways; unless you dig around to find them, you may never see them until they’ve sprouted and you have said or done something cruel that shocks you.”- Timothy Keller

“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”- Hebrews 12:15 (NIV)

In Chapter 10 (“Granting Our Forgiveness”) of Forgive, Timothy Keller talks about why we need to live a life of forgiveness.  Pastor Keller focuses our attention on the first sentence of Luke 17:3-5.  In the text, Jesus tells us to watch ourselves when someone wrongs us, But, the author notes, that’s counterintuitive.  Because when someone wrongs us, our focus zeroes in on the wrongdoer.

Therefore, Pastor Keller counsels, when someone wrongs you, that’s when you must look especially closely at yourself.  Thus, the premise of Jesus’s warning is this.  It’s extremely easy to develop an unforgiving spirit and fail to notice it in yourself.

Hence, the Bible means, it’s difficult to admit your high level of anger at those who have wronged you.  So, Pastor Keller explains:

“To maintain you image of ourselves as good people, we deny how embittered we are.  ‘I’ve forgiven,’ you say (meaning you aren’t actively seeking revenge), ‘but I can’t forget’ (meaning you are rooting for a person’s downfall and that you are still filled with resentment).”

In conclusion, Pastor Keller states, when the writer of Hebrews uses the words ‘see to it’, that means to pay close attention to something.  Hence, the writer cautions us to assume that we are more resentful, less forgiving, and more controlled by people than we think we are.

As a result, you must forgive deliberately and thoroughly, using all the help Christ offers.  Otherwise, your anger defiles you.

Today’s question: When do you find that hidden roots work in hidden ways?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Heart forgiveness – hard, necessary”

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Dave Henning

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