T.D. Jakes talks forgiveness

Hamil R. Harris The Washington Post Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas preaches at Jericho City of … Continued

Hamil R. Harris

The Washington Post

Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas preaches at Jericho City of Praise during the final night of the three-day New Year’s Revival 2012.

In Christian venues across the Washington area, pastors use Good Friday to preach about Jesus and the seven last words–(Among them “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,”)–that he spoke on the cross.

During a recent interview following a sermon at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden, megapreacher T.D. Jakes focused on that theme of forgiveness, also the subject of his new book, “Let It Go.”

“We know how to get into conflict, but we don’t know how to get out of conflict,” he commented. Jakes said far too many Christians talk about forgiveness without actually embracing the concept in their lives.

Jakes, pastor of the Dallas-based Potter’s House, has published books, written plays and produced movies that often deal with the issue of love and forgiveness because, he says, many African Americans cope with these unresolved spiritual issues.

“Many of us are caring burdens and stress and un-forgiveness inside of us that we have not been able to expunge out of our experience,” Jakes said. “I wrote ‘Let It Go’ for those of us who need forgiveness and those who can give receive forgiveness.”

Jakes said one of the most difficult areas to deal with forgiveness is in terms of love and relationships. He said far too many marriages end in divorce simply because couples are unwilling to forgive each other.

“If the African American couple does not learn to use the same forgiveness that we use toward our children on each other our marriages will not survive,” said Jakes adding that for African Americans, the institution of marriage was undermined from the very beginning.

“We had hundreds of years when marriage was not legal and it wasn’t encouraged,” Jakes said. “We have a pathology of pain that continues to perpetuate itself in the lives of our marriages.”

“All couples have work to do but we have extra work to do,” Jakes said. “We have to be patient with each other to the point that we can embrace the wholesome idea of happily every after.”

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  • reussere

    Its been my experience in everyday practical life that forgiveness is often quite hard. Particularly when we have a ‘justified’ resentment against another. It just seems like its a gift we are giving to another. And that person is usually the LAST person we want to give a gift to.

    What turned me around and made it much easier for me, was when I realized a couple of decades ago that forgiveness of others is ALWAYS a gift we are giving to ourselves. And like most people, I always deserve that gift, or at least I believe I do.

  • mollyfields

    Exactly. Foregiveness is about you, not the person you forgive. You get to choose if you want to be a person who holds on to anger. It only poisons you, not the other person.

    The best thing you can do for yourself is choose to be happy.

  • rustygh

    I believe you are correct. We as humans forgive, there is no god involved.

  • reporter1

    Another lesson in morals from a preacher who’s made millions from the collection plates filled with cash from his mega-church’s faithful.

    He and his fellow preachers in their endless chase for the buck have no business giving anyone ethical advice.

  • borisbadenov1520

    Forgiveness-always from one side but rarely given back to the other side. But saying “I am sorry” may at first be self-purging one’s soul, but having to say it more than once in your lifetime portells of another problem.

    We need less forgiveness and more discipline and self-reliance and moral behavior in our cities (Detroit, DC and CHicago, and not forgetting Philly) and less dumping on God and thinking all is after done and over with.

    What needs ot be preached is a healthy and mature and American lifestyle – that means work, taking care of you family and nation, and being something better than a parasite on your fellow man.

  • raymailhot

    Like Martin Luther King Jr. he knows his gospel.

    His message is true and well intended.

    We don’t need any more divisive behavior in America. We can get along.

  • raymailhot

    Forgiveness can only be done by one side, yours!

  • raymailhot

    And yet you have no morals to offer, just negative comments.

  • raymailhot

    Exactly the message God gave us!


  • mha31353

    TJ is money hunger privet ,move maker book wrtter

  • bonitatibus

    Agree! Allowing oneself to forgive another person “who did you wrong” comes when one realizes that the anger you are holding against that person isn’t harming them – it’s only harming yourself/eatting you up inside. Thus, in fact one is giving forgiveness foremost to oneself. Sometimes it is hard to see this place, but it does become visible.

  • Luwarn2

    it still amazes me how we share common themes and yet we are not able to embrace the gay community in their fight for equality. Even here, there is quote that mirrors that exact sentiment>

    “We had hundreds of years when marriage was not legal and it wasn’t encouraged,” Jakes said. “We have a pathology of pain that continues to perpetuate itself in the lives of our marriages.”

    We gay men and women share that along with years of being viewed as not worthy and mentally ill.

    Yet the african american community is one of the most vocal against gay rights for marriage equality.

    Jesus would be ashamed. Now don’t quote me the bible, because when you do, it is taken out of context and it still amazes me how someone can take passages from one side and discard them from another based on their own interpretation or need.

  • PhilyJimi

    The Christian doctrine of “forgiveness” is immoral. I can kill 10,000 people and a week before I die, I can be saved by Jesus and go to heaven. As an unbeliever I can cure cancer but reject Jesus as part of the mythology of 2000 year old sheep herders, I would burn in hell for being an apostate.

    Forgiveness is a never ending number of get out of jail for free cards you get with membership to the Christian religion. It causes major problems when you think you can do real and lasting harm to another human being and you’ll be forgiven by the ultimate authority in the Universe. No matter how you look at it faith and belief trumps good deeds therefore it is immoral.

  • mollyfields

    I am always just completely amazed that any group of people that has been discriminated against and viewed as “less than” others is happy to treat others the same way.

    If it is okay to discriminate against ANYONE then it is okay to discriminate against EVERYONE.

  • mollyfields

    Exactly raymailhot! Forgiveness has nothing to do with an apology or the other person. If you make it about the other person, then you are giving that person control over how you feel


    Forgiveness is overrated. Real punishment is underutilized.

    Tex Watson killed 8 people, but he’s “born-again” and considered a good christian.

    There are hundreds of old men in the South, going to their nice Baptist churches every Sunday, who participated in the killings of civil rights workers and blacks who dared stand up for their civil rights. They walked free decades ago and everyone thinks they are good christians.

    There is no god so that no punishment awaits them.


    Everyone needs someone they can look down on.

  • nkwari

    I think SODDI has a point. Poor whites look down on blacks. Blacks look down on gays. People want to feel superior to somebody. But how could black churches (or any other church) function without gay people? I think a lot of right wing Christians preach against gay because they are gay themselves and trying to solidify their place in the straight world. A few right-wing congressmen have been found to be gay.

  • cej1_us

    Is there no audio?

  • Secular1

    Look through the history and mythology (mainly because mythology is authored by people), they are replete with in-group nepotism and out-group hostility. I sometimes speculate that it has lot more genetic and evolutionary explanation than is offered. That said, we the humans are fortunate to have mental faculties to learn, experiment and zeitgeist that other species do not possess (at least appears that way). We have the evolved mental capacity, because of our evolutionary jackpot perhaps. So we may rely on not necessarily the first order attributes of the evolution, which is perpetuation of narrow genetic pool, but more expanded genetic pool. Of course the out-group hostility was perhaps a significant factor in the survival of the species, naturally according to the evolutionary explanation we inherited those attributes. But evolution has quite accidentally provided us critical thinking which we must use to over come the first order effects of evolution, in order for the species to survive.

    Coming back to the black hatred for gays is reprehensible, just the same as the white racists bigotry against blacks. The mythology is also replete with out-group hostility. Take the exodus story, the hebrews play the so called victim under the egyptians, for being taken as slaves. But at the same time they had laws that explicitly had regulations over slaves. This the so called book of morality which was replete with in-group nepotism and out-group hostility.


    no we can’t

  • monstervotepromos

    This is all very easily explained. Human beings have been flawed from the beginning. We may never be able to explain how this occurred, at least presumably in this lifetime. But it doesn’t matter. The die is cast and the die is imperfect. It could be Adam and Eve just as well as Porgy and Bess, who knows? Somewhere deep inside of the DNA of cave men may yield intriguing results, don’t you think? If we all just act like kind and compassionate citizens then this demoralizing conversation wouldn’t even have to take place, now would it?