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.