TD Jakes - Love Has No Loopholes
What are your priorities? God says that you love the Lord thy God with all our heart and mind, and that you love thy neighbor as you love yourself. I wanna go deeper. He legislates love. He commands you to love. Ooh, I could spend all day. If you command me to do something, that means I can do it. Because it wouldn't be fair for you to command me to do something that I can't do. I command you to be a white man with blonde hair and blue eyes. Come on, Lord! I just scrub, scrub, scrub, and scrub. If I had time, I would tell you a joke. But may have to edit it. A little kid up in the hills of West Virginia saw me, he hadn't seen nobody in my color in his life, and he looked at me, he said, "Mister, mister, hey, mister". I finally turned around. He said, "Are you like that all over"? I said, "Everywhere I can see and everywhere I can get the mirror to point. It seems to be a 100% total job".
Okay. I'm back on track. Okay. You can take that home with you. It doesn't cost you nothing. It's one of my little crazy little stories, happened to me when I was gone along. If He commands me to do it, it must be within my power to accomplish it. Because it wouldn't be just to command me to do something that I cannot do. So, that means, that love is controllable. Wow! That opens up a whole other village over there. He commands, legislated law. Love me. This is how you love me. What I like about God. God tells you how to love him. Don't guess. Most people want you to guess how to love. God say, "Love me with everything. All your heart. All your mind. All your soul. I want you to love me. He tells you straight up". And then he says, I want you to love your neighbor. As you love yourself.
Now, if God now legislates love, then love now has indicted the lawyer. Love has brought an indictment against the lawyer, predicated on the concept that he is guilty. Probably of never loving the Lord with all their heart, mind and soul but at a very minimum, he is guilty of not loving his neighbor as himself and this is how I know. He is looking for a loophole, and any time you look for a loophole, it's because you are guilty. Watch this. Watch this. You all doing okay? You doing okay? Watch this. He says, the Lord who is loved, made flesh, says, love the Lord like all of the heart and soul. Love thy neighbor as himself. Then the lawyer says, to the Lord, who is my neighbor? That is the loophole. He says, you know, what do you believe? What do you wear? What is your theology?
I don't know if I will love you or not, until I find out who is my neighbor. So this is supposed to be smart. What he is saying, do I determine by who lives next door to me? Do I determine by my ethnicity? My politics? My orthodox? Who is my neighbor? Okay. You all with me? If you don't understand that, then you have never understood the story of the good samaritan. Because the story of the good samaritan it is Jesus answer to the lawyer's loophole. Jesus looking at him. Watch this all. I tell you, he says, he says, who is my neighbor? Jesus, doesn't even answer him. He says, a certain man. Jesus is so cool. So cool. So cool. Jesus says, a certain man went down from Jerusalem. Very fact that he said he went to Jerusalem says that he is a Jew. To Jericho. And he said, he fell amongst thieves who stripped him and wounded him and left him half dead, he says.
A Levite passed by and saw him. Levite, a priesthood. Your pastors. Your religious orthodoxy. Your, your goals that epitomize the sacraments of your faith, tenants of one that will handle the theology for you pass by, looked at him, and turned and went away. You mean this guy who the lawyer would perceive to be an OK neighbor didn't help him? Let me break this down where it becomes relevant to you. Have you ever been shocked when you were in trouble at who didn't help you? The person that you thought for sure, that you knew would be your ride or die? Ride or die is an African-American colloquial that means, like, total commitment. Generally accommodated with another word that I won't use, but it just means to be totally committed. Now, that's enough about that.
So, okay, and you find out that when the heat is on, the brother who said, he would always be there for you, act like he don't even know you, looks at your predicament, and crosses by on the other side. The priest comes, your holy friends see you in trouble, saying, "Girl, if you need anything, call me." Ain't it funny how you can be bleedin' to death, and folks say, "If you need", and they pass by on the other side. I want you to understand what Jesus is sayin' to him, watch this. He says, "And then, the good Samaritan".
Now, you have to understand, Jesus is settin' the lawyer up, usin' an oxymoron, because in the lawyers mind, there is no such thing as a good Samaritan. The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. In fact, one time when they got ready to insult Jesus, they called him a Samaritan. When Jesus came down to the well to meet the Samaritan woman, she says, "You know your people don't talk to me." Isn't it funny how you can limit love to likeness, only to find out the old Negro adage, "Everybody skin to me ain't kin to me"? So Jesus says, "Who is your neighbor"? Was it the priest? Was it the Levite? Or was it the good Samaritan who got down off his beast, poured in the oil and the wine, set you on his own beast, and brought you to the innkeepers' house, and all of the help came through somebody that you wouldn't have thought was your
neighbor. All the witnesses, clap your hands.
So here are your takeaways. God is saying that if you are going to be like him, you have to love like him. You have to love people who don't think like you, who don't look like you, who don't vote like you, who don't dress like you, and you have to take down the tribunal whereby you try people before you love them, and begin to understand that love has no loopholes. Don't dress it up in political clothes, don't dress it up in religious clothes, don't dress it up in tribal clothes, don't dress it up in ethnical clothes, don't dress it up in status. Love has no loopholes.
Now, I'll tell 'ya how to begin to learn that is, have some children. Because if you fool around and have some children, you will begin to understand that love has no loopholes. You will tell them, when they talkin' back, "If you do it again, I'm not gone ever do such and such. I'm not gone help you. Don't call me. I'm not gone loan you no money. If you walk out that door and get into that, you are in it by yourself." That's what you said, but because you love... uh-huh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Touch somebody and say, "It's about love, it's about love, it's about love."
See, where love will make you change your mind. Love will make you go back on your word. Love will make you go an extra mile. Love will make you apologize even though you thought you was right. Love will make you feed somebody who cussed you out. Love will make you call somebody, even though it makes you look like the weaker one. Does anybody understand the words that are comin' outta my mouth? Touch your neighbor and say, "Love don't have no loopholes." It don't have no loopholes. I don't care what they did, I don't care who they did it with, I don't care how much you don't agree with it, if you really are a lover, love will find a way. It'll climb over top of stuff and find a way. Love will find a way to get you. Love! Gory to God, glory to God, glory to God. Hit three people and say, "Ain't no way out, ain't no way out, ain't no way out".
Love has no loopholes. Touch three people and say, "No way out"! No way out, no way out, ironclad, irrevocable, immutable, unchangeable. Love has no loopholes. And I know I'm right about it, because Jesus himself tried to find a loophole. For the Bible said that he went in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he said, "Father, if it be thy will, pass this bitter cup from me. It costs too much to love these people. They're all messed up and confused", and he had to pray three times tryin' to find a way out of the contract. But finally, he said, "Not my will, but thine be done", and they hung him high, and they stretched him wide, until the sun refused to shine, and the ground began to tremble, and he died. Till the veil in the temple was ripped from the top to the bottom, and he died till law fell over on grace. He died, yes he did, oh yes he did, oh yes he did, oh yes he did.
Touch three people and say, "He couldn't get out of it". He couldn't get out of it, he couldn't get out of it, he couldn't get out of it, he couldn't get out of it. Love didn't have a loophole. It was not the nails that held him to the cross. He could've pulled the nails out. It wasn't the cross, 'cause he made the tree. It wasn't the mountain, 'cause he hollowed the mountain. But, for the love that was set before him, he died. Shake your neighbor by the hand and say, "Neighbor, I'mma shake your hand, but you can't shake your responsibility". You can't shake your responsibility. You can't shake what you gotta do. Love has no loopholes. You gotta love everybody with all of your heart.
Oh, my God. What I'm tryin' to get you to see... join hands with somebody. What I'm tryin' to get you to do, what I'm tryin' to get you to see, what I'm tryin' to get you to understand, what I'm tryin' to get you to think, you gotta be bigger than this. You can't just love the folks in your zip code, the folks in your denomination, or the folks in your house. Love has no loopholes. The person you touch may have been taught wrong. They may have been taught to only love when the circumstances were right, when the conditions were right, or if you think like I think. But life keeps demanding that you broaden your ability to love. Workin' with people will demand that you broaden your ability to love. Even people that you normally wouldn't like. These are no the people that you would invite over to eat hot dogs with, but for a paycheck, you learn how to... after while, you do invite 'em over.
You cannot be a big person with a small heart. We can teach you all kinds of principles about bein' blessed, and prosperous, and overcoming in victory. Life can take you to the opiate of success, but if you end up behind a big desk, in a corner office, with a small mind, and a small heart, you will lose everything you have, because you cannot determine who is your neighbor. Now, the person you're touchin' right now, they may not tell you, but every last one of us, our love is being tested in some area. A demand is being placed on your ability to love, your ability to understand, your ability to broaden your perspectives beyond your comfort zone. I may not sing the songs you grew up singin', I may not preach the way you're used to hearing it, but if you get hungry enough, you'll learn to look past this sweat rag, and say, "You know, that man helped me".
I want you to pass the test, and the only way you're not gone pass it is if you continue to be a self-enthroned, egotistical maniac. What does that mean? Everything's about you. Years ago, I had met a woman who had written a book that stayed in my mind, never left. It said that the root of all sin is selfishness. And because I am a thinker, I couldn't get away from the thought. Look at your sins. Are you selfish? Is your love dwarfed? Are you loving like an adolescent in the middle of your life? Is everything always got to be about you? And, if any of that pierces you, if there's any part of you that's not so callused that you can't hear truth, if the word was sharp enough to pierce, dividing asunder bone and marrow, soul and spirit, and got down in your heart, and challenged you, and you say, "Yes, I admit it, I am selfish".
I understand that, 'cause I've been selfish, too. And the truth of the matter is, everybody in here, at one time or another, didn't play by the rules, went for yourself, and said, "I gotta be me", and you were selfish. But, I'm telling you, there is no loophole. If you flunk the test, you gone have to take it again, and take it again, and take it again, until you pass the test of love. This is a strange message. I feel like I'm talkin' to somebody. It may only be one person in this room. In somebody's life, this cuts deep. It cuts down to the people you live with, and eat with, your own children and how you interact with your own family, and your own wife, and your own husband.
It cuts deep to how you feel about your mother, and your stepmother, and your mother's new boyfriend. It cuts deep, 'cause it's not what you expected, and it's not what you wanted, and you have to admit it's not about you. It cuts deep into how you treat your sister, and how you treat your brother. It cuts real deep down into how you treat the people you know. To somebody else, it cuts real deep into how you treat people you don't know, people who don't look like you, and dress like you, or sing like you, or walk like you, or believe like you. It challenges your theology, because you've been praying to only embrace people who embrace a certain principle or ideal, cuts deep.
But God would not be speakin' it to you if you didn't need to hear it. Squeeze that hand. That person you're touchin' has got to leave this place and go on a love mission. They've got to go on a love mission. They may not ever go to Africa, they may not ever go to South America, but they have got to go on a mission field of love. And they've got to be selfless enough to swallow the way they think, and the way they've been trained, and their own fears, and their own insecurity, and go on a mission of love.
That person you're touchin' right now will be trapped in a vicious cycle. They'll never embrace the fullness of what God has for you, because sometimes God puts your healing in the hands of a Samaritan. Sometimes God puts your healing in the hands of somebody whose theology is different from yours. Sometimes God puts your healing in a place that's unfamiliar or uncomfortable. Sometimes God gives you a child who doesn't believe like you believe, or live like you live, or think like you think, or act like you want 'em to act.
You gotta go on a love mission, and say, "You're still my child. You're still my baby. Come on in this house and get somethin' to eat. I don't know what to think about what you're doin', but I know I love you". Your love has got to go on a mission field. Squeeze that hand, and I come against all arrogance, and all areas in your life that have lifted themself up as being a greater priority.
I wanna challenge you to love the man you got like you love your son, because he's somebody's son. To love the woman you got like she's somebody's little girl, because she is somebody's little girl. I don't understand how you can have so much mercy for your own children and you don't have any mercy for mine. I don't understand that. I don't understand. I don't understand that you don't realize that I'm somebody's baby. Somebody cradled me, and nursed me, and held me, and fed me, and raised me the best they could. Why can't you love me, too? Why can't you love her, too?
I command you to love. I don't care if you dance all over the church, and speak in tongues, and prophesy. I don't care if you give your body to be burned. I don't care if you give all the money to the church, the greatest commandment is love. If you don't pass this test, nothing else is gonna matter. Squeeze that hand. For somebody, it's a test, because they're being called to give something that they didn't get themselves. For somebody, it's a real challenge, because this is an area of weakness. They've never had it demonstrated inside of themselves.
And they don't know how to come to God and say, "God, teach me how to love". I wanna be a more loving man, a more loving woman. Make me a loving father. Teach me how to love my wife. I know I've bee married 20 years, but I have never loved her the way I should have loved her. Teach me how to love the way you love her. Somebody's not humble enough to say, "Make me a loving woman". I was raised by a mouthy woman, an angry woman, and outspoken, but God, I come to you because I want you to make me a loving woman. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit inside of me. Herein is religion pure and undefiled. Everything else doesn't matter. If you don't master this, you flunk the test, you flunk the course, for God is love.
Move, Holy Spirit, move. Where we're goin' with this, only you can go. You're only strong enough to penetrate. You're the only one strong enough to penetrate all those years, and years of gunk, and anger, and hostility, and confusion. Only you can penetrate through all of that, and touch the core of that heart. Only you can bring a heart helpless to the altar. Only you. If Jesus had to pray three times, only you can bring a heart to the altar and say yes to loving again, to living again, to trying again, to touching again. Send the kind of anointing that heals families, and heals marriages, and heals ministries, and heals minds, for love has no loopholes.
There's no way out. Go ahead and buy that big house, but if there's no love in it. Go ahead and get your big, bad, fancy car, but if there's no love in it. Exercise your body with your fine self, but if don't nobody love you. Go on and get your hair done, get your teeth done, get your mouth done, get your ears done, get a tummy tuck, but if there's no love in it. You're bankrupt without it, you're empty without it, you're lost without it, you're desperate without it, you're crawling without it, and you'll never have joy, and you'll never have peace, and you'll never have happiness, you'll just have misery at a bigger address, misery in a finer car, without love.