I believe Bishop T. D. Jakes would agree with Dr. Stephen Viars (Putting Your Past in Its Place) that we need to turn our past struggles into stepping stones for growth in order to move toward healing and hope.
In Let It Go, Bishop Jakes states that our fixation on past offenses stems from our failure to connect the dots between where we’ve been and our present situation. We need to get at the deeper root of the problem rather than merely addressing the cosmetic, surface issues. Even though we may not consciously be aware of our deeper issues, nevertheless subconsciously we still communicate our hidden emotions and coping skills through our vocal tone and mannerisms. We must commit to letting go of the past- success is intentional.
Forgiveness is the key element in this process, a big idea requiring great character strength, daily practice, and a long-term, big picture perspective. Forgiveness strengthens us to live again and move forward. Unforgiveness, on the other hand, is a product of small thinking and a short-term viewpoint. It necessitates constant vigilance or it may remain unchecked until it precipitates a crisis situation.
The reality is, Bishop Jakes asserts, that offenses will come to everyone- the question is how we respond. Even when the facts are on our side, by stubbornly insisting on ‘justice’ we miss the opportunity for God to transform our lives and ministries. Anger is not the only emotion we have left. Bishop Jakes poignantly states: “Anger held is not love replaced.”
One way to let go of anger is taking time to understand the reason behind an offender’s behavior, because it’s hard to hate someone you now understand. By witnessing the love and mercy God has shown to us, those blessings will ‘trickle down’ to others, providing a wonderful opportunity for revisioned ministry.