TD Jakes - The Blind Spot
Blind spots, blind spots are the places that we allow ourselves not to be changed, areas that you won't allow your faith to touch, where your faith is not penetrating, and you don't see it. Vengeance and anger and hurt create blind spots. I'm not talking about good people and evil people, right people and wrong people. I'm talking about places where there should be love, but there's hate, like maybe your heart. I wonder what is in your blind spot. What I am asking you to do is to reflect the mercy you have been given. The reason I have to be merciful is because I have received mercy, and every time I want to be judgmental, I keep remembering something that God did in my life.
I coined this term, "spiritual saturation". It's worth jotting down. Spiritual saturation deals with how much of your spirituality has saturated into your behavior. Because Jonah seems to have a pipeline to God enough to be able to hear from God, but his attitude toward the people is suspect. Some of the most spiritual people can often be the most obnoxious people, and it begs the question, how could your vertical be so strong and your horizontal be so weak? Your vertical relationship with God. I just saw you, you were crying in worship, you were prostrate in the floor, you cursed me out in the parking lot... I'm confused.
How could you walk in such glory and hate your ex-husband? I'm just wondering, I'm trying to measure, at what point is your vertical going to saturate into your horizontal? Because at whatever point that is, then you become a Christian. I told you it was gonna be tough if I preach this this morning. See, see, saturation has a lot to do with substance. Now, one thing I want you to understand: when I talk about saturation, I'm talking about a crucified life. I'm talking about your vertical and your horizontal are connected. I'm talking about that I can see your love for God by how you love people. And yet, that doesn't always happen, that doesn't always happen the way it's supposed to, and sometimes it is the substance.
There is a text in the Bible, I won't pull it up right now, but there's a text in the Bible that says, "The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh". You remember that? The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and it always, the text made me uncomfortable, Dr. J., because I didn't want to admit that God hardened people's hearts. Especially when another text says, "Harden not your heart," and then it turns around and says, "The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh". And it troubled me. I couldn't understand how God would be in the business of hardening hearts. And one scholar said this, and it never left my mind. He said, "The same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay". The same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay.
So the problem is not in the sun, it's in the substance of the thing it touches. If it would've hit wax, it would've melted it, but if it hit clay, it would have hardened it. And you wonder how we could be so hard-hearted that we have children in cages, you wonder why we could be so hard-hearted that we separate mothers and fathers and family, you wonder why we could be so hard-hearted that we would drive into a building and kill people we don't even know, you wonder why we can be so hard-hearted, especially while we light up crosses and especially while we say we are Christian. You have to conclude that the sun must have hit clay.
I don't believe that all these people are bad people. I just think they live in blind spots. And nor do I think this is a new idea, because the Bible said, Jesus said, "You killed the prophets and think you do God's service". So there has always been people who lived in the blind spot, who thought they were doing God's will and killing God's people. That's always been, that didn't just start in Charlottesville, that didn't just start in your generation. All the way back to the days of Jesus, people have always kill people in the name of God.
I wanna read just for a moment, 1 John chapter 4, verse 17 through 21. 1 John chapter 4: "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world". Herein is our love made mature. Love made mature gives us boldness in the day of judgment. Boldness, I can come bold in the day of judgment when my Love is mature, when I start loving you as he would, when I start seeing you as he would. As he is, the text says, so are we in this world. Give me more, come on, I feel this. "There is no fear in love," hallelujah.
You don't have to be afraid of me. "There is no fear in love; a perfect love casteth out fear; because," because, because, "fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love". My God, give me some more. "We love him, because he first loved us". I'mma work this thing. "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not"? God says, "I reject your love for me until I see your love for them".
So you can put your hymn book down, you can stop clapping your hand, you can stop waving your hands until you learn how to love people. The Bible then says, "You're a liar". I didn't say it, the Bible said it. I never will forget my first trip, though I've made many, to Elmina in Ghana, and there I was, looking at the slave castles and going through the slave castles, and fairly trying to feel my ancestors and reconnect with my ancestry, and looking at the chains and looking at the place where the women were raped and where they were hosed off so that they would be clean enough to be raped and, packed up like sardines, men in a can, and the smell of feces is still in Elmina, is still there, is still there today.
And I was shocked at all of that, but what really blew me away is when I came up out of the dungeons and upstairs was a church. And I said, "You mean to tell me that the same people who killed and mutilated and raped sang hymns and worship and praise God"? And I stood there staring at the church, trying to reconcile... how can you say that you love God and hate me? And then I was reminded there are churches that hate each other, there are denominations that hate each other, there are preachers that hate each other. I'm talking about places where there should be love, but there's hate, like maybe your heart.
Should be a sanctuary, but is it? Is your heart a sanctuary or is it hiding a slave dungeon? You want me to go ahead? Like family, the contrast between the slavery and the sanctuary is not just in Elmina. Anytime you should be safe and you get violated, that sanctuary has made you a slave, and the contradiction is amazing. And families should be a place of sanctuary, but I know sisters that hate each other, I know kids that hate their parents, I know parents that hate their kids. And some of you hate when your own family comes over because your sanctuary is a school for the blind. I know wives that cannot lay in their husbands' laps and husbands that cannot lay in the wives' lap, though they live together. They have lost their sanctuary, and it is a school for the blind.
Can I go deeper with this? Anytime you have no sanctuary, anytime you are connected to somebody who says they love God and yet they don't forgive, they don't apologize, they never say "I'm sorry," they never say "I'm wrong," they never take it back, I doubt you are legitimate Christian. I doubt it, I doubt it, I doubt it. You see, the reason I'm talking to you about this is because there are blind spots where your faith is not penetrating certain areas of your life, and you don't see it, like I didn't see the car. And the wreck is really because you have allowed a blind spot.
He's angry with God for being merciful, and he has a boldness to admit it. And what makes me upset with him, point three, is that he has selective amnesia. How could you be angry with God for forgiving Nineveh? Is not this is a God that heard you cry out of the belly of the fish when you were in your mess, and did not he pull you up from the bottom of the mountains and give you a second chance after you had totally disobeyed him and anointed you and use you and bless you, and now you don't want me? You don't want me to have the same mercy? I'm upset with him because he doesn't seem to see, he doesn't seem to understand that mercy doesn't end with you. Mercy begins with you, and you who have been forgiven the most, how dare you hold a grudge? How dare you hold a grudge? How dare you have the nerve to talk about who you can't stand?
When you know it's by his mercy that you take your next breath, you know you should have been dead, you know you could've been killed, you know you should have died of AIDS, but God had mercy. I wish he would fight me, I'll fight you back. See, selective amnesia is a strange type of amnesia. It's where you remember some things but not others. And normally it's, like, not remembering how to play the piano, not remembering how to do something that you used to know how to do, selective amnesia. But for the purpose of this message, selective amnesia is forgetting that you needed to be forgiven. Selective amnesia is, there you are, sitting up under a hut, waiting on God to get me. And the thing you're angry with God about is the very thing that you needed God to do for you.
What I am asking you to do is to reflect the mercy you have been given. What I'm asking me to do is to reflect the mercy I have been given. The reason I have to be merciful is because I have received mercy, and every time I want to be judgmental, I keep remembering something that God did in my life. Can I get a witness up in here? And I am trying, by the help of God, to remove the blind spot. God let a gourd grow up over his head, a plant to give him shade from the sun. And the same God who gave him the shade gave him the worm that ate it up. That's a whole 'nother sermon, that's a whole 'nother sermon.
God gave the plant, then he gave the worm, then he gave the correction. He said, now you're upset because the shade is gone. Because God will shade ignorance for a while, but sooner or later, God will give a worm to take the shade off the ignorance and expose it for what it is. I feel like preaching this morning. Y'all are not fooling me today. Just because judgment is not executed speedily against the wicked doesn't mean that it won't be executed. The same God that sends the plant sends the worm.
And so in the morning, he sent the plant, and then in the night he sent the worm, and the worm ate the plant and the plant died. And Jonah is angry because Jonah loves plants more than people. And God says to Jonah, "If you could get angry about a plant that you didn't plant, you didn't grow, and yet you're trying to protect the plant and hoping the people perish". I'm just talking about blind spots. And so this Sunday morning, I want to ask you before I take my seat: What's in your blind spot? Who is suffering in your blind spot for the lack of something that you refuse to give? A mercy that you think you own. Who are you to deny someone else mercy?
Now, I wanna challenge you, because you could easily shout over this message real easy as long as you don't apply it. But if you apply it, you ought to be feeling a little bit funny right now, because this ought to bring up something in your heart somewhere, in your heart somewhere, in your heart somewhere, where in spite of all of them Scriptures you know, and in spite of all those charitable causes you give to, there's still somebody that's gasping for air because they are cursed to live in your blind spot. I could've killed that guy. I didn't mean to. I just didn't see it right.
As I close this message this morning, there must be a reason why God has me warning you about blind spots, and I sense through the Holy Spirit that there are people in this room, literally in this room, that are living in your blind spot that you are really angry with, that they are asphyxiating for the lack of your love and attention because you're holding them hostage because they did something that was undeniably wrong. But haven't you? And there are people in your house and in your life that have to suffer the wrath of your blind spot because maybe your arrogance won't let you melt, so the longer you've been around you've become hard. And the same sun that hardens the clay melts the wax.
And I'm wondering this morning if God's presence would melt you, or are you so good at being hard, and your mama was hard, and your grandmama was hard, and your daddy was hard, and your granddaddy was hard, and your uncle was hard, are you so hard-hearted that you're like these 13-year-olds who going to these funerals where the other 13-year-old has been shot to death in a gang killing, and they'd be talking about "Yo" at the casket. Yo? Are you crazy? Are you... the Bible says in the last days people would lose natural affections. When I was young I thought it meant one thing, now that I'm older, to lose the ability to melt? You 13 and hard. What happened to you that you turned to clay and not wax? And you have lost natural affections, natural compassion. I don't want you to dance. I don't want you to run the aisle and throw $20 at the altar.
I'm wondering if God would be gracious enough to me this morning to melt you, to melt down the places the blind spots that exist in your life that cause you to sit by in your arrogance and wait for people to crumble because you got your feelings hurt, your little feelings hurt. You want to wreck my whole future with your vengeance. And because I am your pastor, because I am your spiritual father, and because I have done it myself, I wanted to warn you about blind spots.