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.”