Bishop T.D. Jakes: Let It Go
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CBN.com -THE IMPORTANCE OF FORGIVENESS
With his new book Let It Go, Bishop T.D. Jakes’ hope is that people get released from not only unforgiveness but also guilt, shame, and pain. He says that forgiveness goes against human nature but it’s as necessary as the air we breathe and it is a gift for oneself. Bishop Jakes also says, “We don’t throw away our pets when they do something wrong or our children when they have a dirty diaper, but we throw away adults every day because they don’t live up to our expectations.” There is a trend among Christians to forgive little though God gives abundant personal forgiveness. However, “Forgiveness is essential if we are to grow into the fullness of who God created us to be. When we refuse to forgive, we basically insist on setting our standards higher than God’s.” He also says, “Forgiveness isn’t about weakening you but strengthening you to live again and love again, performing at your highest capacity unencumbered by yesterday’s maladies.” It does not exonerate the one who hurt you nor does it trivialize the depth of your trauma. Forgiveness is a gift you must find a way to give yourself, regardless of who or what has placed you where you are. Bishop Jakes believes that unforgiveness is a leading cause of divorce (not adultery or economics). It divides families, undermines office teamwork.
Sometimes forgiveness can take our lives and bring us to better places we could never have dreamed of. Bishop Jakes recalls a time where he held resentment towards someone who he felt cheated and took advantage of him and his then small church. Unexpectedly that person asked for forgiveness when he was challenged about his unfair business practices. Bishop Jakes forgave him. Later it was this person that helped Bishop Jakes bring about his television debut which now reaches people around the world. In this instance Bishop Jakes says the important thing to remember is that his greatest opportunity was born in the middle of an offense. He learned that it is possible to be right about an issue but you can be wrong to take on the fight.
FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES…
No matter who you are or what your personality is, it is impossible to live this life without some conflict along the way, Bishop Jakes shares. Offenses come to everyone and they are a part of life. Bishop Jakes says, “…conflicts can be resolved and relationships do have a future, if we learn to forgive.” We must be willing to look at our own ability to hurt, offend, and injure those around us, (who are often the people we love the most) in order to forgive others. The Lord’s Prayer provides us with a key insight into how we can experience the joy and abundant life Jesus came to bring us “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us (Matt. 6-11 KJV). Bishop Jakes says many people don’t realize when they pray this prayer they are asking God to forgive them the same way they are forgiving (or not forgiving) others. Also that these words tie my forgiveness with my willingness to forgive, and remind us of the way our hearts work. If we are not humbled with unwavering gratitude for what we have been forgiven, then it will be very difficult for us to forgive other people for what they do to us. He also says that an opportunity for you to forgive an offender is not so much a test of how you handle power as it is how you handle mercy. There is a thin line between the offended and the offender. It is not that God is punishing us in this prayer but rather our human capacity to receive God’s grace is blocked when we are not willing to forgive those who have hurt us. We cannot embrace God’s forgiveness if we are so busy clinging to past wounds and nursing old grudges. In order to move into the blessings of our future, we must relinquish the pains of the past.
…AS WE FORGIVE...
As adults we realize that we serve a forgiving God. Our God is powerful and righteous and also merciful and compassionate. It’s not that He just acts merciful to His children, but mercy is at the very heart of who He is. The reason His mercy is new every morning is that yesterday’s mercy removed all record of yesterday’s mistakes. This means God is ready to start fresh again with us today. He doesn’t hold our mistakes over our heads like people do. If we are to be forgiven, then we must be prepared to give forgiveness. Bishop Jakes asks the question, if you can admit that you need forgiveness, then why won’t you give it? Instead of being a conduit of his mercy, we who have often received it then deny it in a false sense of piety and religious purity.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
Bishop Jakes says sometimes we fail to extend forgiveness to the ones who need it the most – ourselves. We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to grace and forgiveness. Sometimes we have a hard time forgiving others and extending them mercy because we are unable to receive the grace God gives to us personally. Then, it is hard let go of the standard of perfection to which we hold ourselves accountable. If our neighbor suffers from our unforgiveness as a result of our own self-contempt, then we are doubly punishing ourselves and them. A danger of not practicing forgiveness is that we become carriers of the offenses that we have suffered.
ABOUT BISHOP T.D. JAKES
Bishop T.D. Jakes is known for his service to the church and the global community, and his heartfelt efforts have made an impact. He is at the forefront of philanthropy, a best-selling author, and a premier contemporary spiritual voice. In addition to The Potter's House, the Dallas-Fort Worth community is home Mega Care, the global humanitarian outreach of the Potter's House; the Metroplex Economic Development Corporation, a resource for aspiring entrepreneurs; and Capella Park, a single-family housing development. He is a trailblazer in national conferences and events. His Woman Thou Art Loosed, ManPower Internation Pastors & Leaders, and MegaFest conferences have drawn hundreds of thousands, and shattered attendance records in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. In 2004, Megafest broke records there with 560,000 people attending. In 2008, the MegaFest conference was held in beautiful South Africa. With a special interest in the continent of Africa, Bishop Jakes and The Potter's House brought water wells, medicine, and ministry to thousands of people in and around Nairobi, Kenya, a country he’s visited since 1995.
He hosts the daily television broadcast, The Potter's Touch. Bishop Jakes has added the title of filmmaker to his list of pursuits, transmitting his message of empowerment and encouragement into Woman Thou Art Loosed: The Movie—the first of many motion pictures not easily broken jumping the broom. Currently, he is working on Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day and has been the producer of the movie Sparkle starring Jordan Sparks and the late Whitney Houston.
In 2001, the front page of TIME Magazine featured the question, “Is TD Jakes the next Billy Graham?” While his preaching style may not look much like that of Dr. Graham, his influence is every bit as broad. He has the ability to tailor his message to a variety of forms to reach today’s culture whether it be Christian conservatives, hip-hoppers, men or women, young and old. Jakes has been called a true 21st century renaissance man. He has a 30,000-member mega church with five locations. He’s a songwriter, a playwright, an actor, a pastor, teacher, and author."I understand the importance of drama and storytelling," Jakes says. "I think they bring an important perspective to ministry, and for me this is harmonious with preaching. As preachers, we are engaged in storytelling every Sunday, sharing the story of the Good News of who Christ is, and dramatizing those words so people can experience them."
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