Is There a Forest Growing in Your Heart?
In Chapter One of her book, Choosing Forgiveness, Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks this question: "How many of you would be honest enough to admit that there's a root of bitterness in your heart—that there are one or more people in your life—past or present—that you've never forgiven?"
Nancy reports that whenever she asks this question to her Christian listeners, 80 to 95 percent of them consistently answer "Yes."
She writes, "It still affects me profoundly to think the vast majority of people sitting in church Sunday after Sunday (and many who are sitting at home, having left the church disillusioned) have at least a seed—if not a forest—of unforgiveness in their heart" (Choosing Forgiveness, p. 34).
Those words got me thinking about you. How many of you would admit that there is someone you have not forgiven? How many of you are bitter because you feel unable to let an offense (or series of offenses) go? Is there a seed of unforgiveness in your heart? Maybe it's grown to a forest.
The topic of forgiveness seems like appropriate punctuation for our recent conversations about friendship and parents. I'm guessing the trend that Nancy has noticed with Christian adults hasn't escaped Christian young women like you. I am fairly confident that at least 80 percent of you would have to fess up to unforgiveness if you were honest. It seems likely that that unforgiveness would be found in your relationships with your parents and/or friends.
There's real danger doing nothing about it.
Hebrews 12:14–15 says this: "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."
Bitterness (often caused by unforgiveness) is described in this passage as a root. Even amateur horticulturists know that the root is the source from which other life springs. Unforgiveness, if left unchecked, will bear nasty fruit in your life.