TD Jakes - Making Peace With Your Past
You have to mature to consider consequences. By the time you are in your 30s, you oughtta be grappling after something, tryin' to build something, tryin' to do something, tryin' to become something. That's why I love what we're doing and what we're getting ready to do with our young adults, because those are your building years. Your 30s and your 40s are your building years, those are your building years, those are your formation years, those are your development years, those are the make or break you years. When you get in your 50s and 60s, you begin to recognize that I can still win and I can still accomplish some things, but you start to begin to recognize I may not get what I thought I would get when I started. And if you don't learn how to be good with that, you'll become a Saul to some David and you'll end up trying to kill somebody who's coming because you wasted your turn.
Can I go a little bit deeper? Making peace with your past doesn't just mean making peace with your sins, it means making peace with your station in life, getting to a place where I'm good with it. Alexander the coppersmith hates me, but I'm good with it. I'm gonna put that over in the I'm good with it column, because I got to balance these books. I'm good with the fact that I still can see further than I will ever be able to go. By the time you get to your 70, you started to begin to understand that I can see further than I can reach, and if you're not good with that, you'll become bitter, and you'll become a hater, and you'll start trying to destroy people who have more time and more energy than you do. What is a sign of maturity is when you have made peace with where you are. That's why the Bible says, watch this, "Godliness with contentment is great gain".
To be contented doesn't mean that you don't have ambition, doesn't mean that you don't have goals, it means that you don't use your ambition to create frustration. You can't be so ambitious that you start cutting people's throats to get ahead, you can't be so ambitious that you become vicious and become ruthless and become dangerous. You've got to come to a point that maybe you wanted some things for you that God didn't want for you, and you have to be good with where he placed you. And you might not ever get back to West Africa, but you got to learn how to bloom where you're planted. And if I never get back, and if I never go here, and if I never go there, I'm going to be as fruitful as I can in the land where I am. I'm good with it.
I can't spend the rest of my life wishing for something that may not ever happen again. I'm good with it. To come to a place of contentment, where you can lay down at night and be contented. Doesn't mean that you don't have anything that you go after, any goals or anything, but it does mean that whether I get it or don't, I'm still going to be okay. Whether you like me or don't, I'm still going to be okay. Whether you clap or don't clap, I'm still going to be okay. Whether you support or don't support, I have come to a place of making peace with where I am in my life and what I went through in my life, and I'm good with it because I can't make you feel good about you until I feel good about me.
Let me help the preachers that are watching online, you can quote what I quote, but till you've been through what I've been through, it's not gonna be effective. The only way to be effective is that you've gone through enough that it's changed your attitude that you are good with where you are in life and you're happy to be you and you're not trying to be nobody else and you're not wishing you were somebody else and you're not wishing you had another mama and you're not wishing you had another daddy. You're saying it was good that I was afflicted. If it had turned out any other kind of way, I wouldn't have ended up where I ended up. Thank you for rejecting me. Thank you for leaving me by myself. You taught me how to pray, you taught me how to stand on my own two feet. If you would've been there, I would have never met who God wanted me to meet. If you would've been there, I wouldn't have been hungry enough to become anointed enough to become powerful enough to be where I am.
I'm talking to somebody today about making peace with your past so that you don't spend the rest of your life trying to get back somewhere that there's no boat to take you back, but there is strength to bloom where you're planted. And to prosper where you are, you have to be good with being you. Because though I might not have what you have, I got somethin' you don't. And I'm not gonna focus on what I don't have, I'm gonna focus on what I do have. Yes, I'm going to do all I can to enhance what I got, but some things God gave you, he didn't give me. Well, I'm not in a race with you, I'm in a race to be the best me that I was... oh, y'all don't hear what I'm sayin'. So Paul says, "When people did not stand by me, the Lord stood with me".
Now, who would you rather have stand with you? He said, "The Lord stood with me and strengthened me," put that scripture back up there again, 'cause I want to get that scripture just right. Down in the last part of 2 Timothy, "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the gospel might be proclaimed and all the gentiles might hear it, and I was delivered from the lion's mouth". Look, I was delivered, you don't understand. I was delivered from the lion's mouth. Now, he means that figuratively, but imagine that literally. I was delivered from the lion's mouth. Look at how many lions' mouths you've been in. I was delivered out of the mouth of people that I thought was my friend and really my enemy. I was delivered. I was delivered from the lion's mouth. I was delivered from the thing that could have devoured me. I was delivered. The reason I got to praise him, I was delivered. I should've been dead, I should've had a nervous breakdown, I could've lost my mind. I was delivered from the lion's mouth.
When you see me praising God, you can imitate my step, but you can't imitate my gratitude, because nobody knows like I know what my lion was. Everybody in here got a lion, everybody in this room got somethin' that had you in its clutches, but I want you to think back on the lion that had you in his mouth, and look at you now, and I want you to give God a praise for how he delivered you out of the mouth of the lion. And he says, "Because," watch this, "Because I was delivered, the Lord will rescue me".
See, on the strength of what I've been through in my past, God has built up enough resume in me that I am confident now that the Lord will rescue me from every evil attack. That means that the things that used to worry me don't worry me like they used to. And the things that used to drive me crazy don't drive me crazy like they used to. Because of the lion's mouth, I've got enough faith to believe God against every evil thing that's in my future. I'm gonna use what I've been through in my past to prepare me for my future. So, I wanna leave you with four words, the first word is restitution, restitution. Damascus was where Paul is called to serve restitution for his deeds. You can't do just anything and not have any restitution. There comes a point in your life that you can't just take and not give back. There has to be some level of restitution.
And number two, I want you to get this word resolution. Resolution is a point where you accept God's plan over your own life and you resolve in your own mind, you resolve, this is it. I think it takes a long time to be married. It takes about 30 minutes to have a wedding, but it takes a long time to be married. You can be married and still be looking through a window at your own life. It takes a while for you to say, this is it, I'm all in. I don't just have one foot in it. I'm not just testing it out. I'm not just seeing. I'm not just leaving an out clause. I'm not keeping a fire escape open. I'm not runnin' around throwing the D word out. It takes a long time for you to really settle in. Crazy as I am and crazy as you are, we just gonna be crazy together.
Resolution means that you have now accepted the course God has for your life. Resolution means I'm not envious of you. Oh, I'm going deep now. Resolution means that I'm not comparing myself by you. I don't have to measure up to you. Resolution is, I'm good with who I am. I'm good with the gifts I bring to the table. I'm not intimidated by you. I have resolved that my gift is just as effective as yours. I know you got the shield and the sword and the shiny stuff and all I got is a rock and a rag, but I'm good with the rock and the rag, and the rock and the rag brought me all the way here. When I started preaching, they said you can't get on TV preaching like that.
When God is trying to get you to a point that you are good with what he gave you, even if it's a rag and a rock, run on out there and throw it at Goliath and watch him fall out. You cannot win the fight if you don't have confidence in your equipment. I cannot go out there and fight Goliath acting like you, 'cause I ain't you. Your shield is, and beautiful and shiny, and your sword looks like it could cut straight through meat, but I don't have no experience with that. I do know how to work this rock and this rag. And why are you laughing at how stupid it is? I did more with rag and rock than you did with your sword and shield, so don't try to intimidate me with what you got. You have to come to a resolution that you're good with what God gave you. With your short self, you gotta... if you short, you gotta work it. Grab the mike and pull it down to where you are and let the devil have it. If you're tall, you gotta stand up and work it and use what God gave you.
Don't you know when Moses came to God and said, "I can't speak 'cause I stammer," God said, "Didn't I make your mouth"? When are you gonna be good with how God made you? Did not I make your mouth? Could not I have fixed your tongue if I wanted to? Resolution is whatever age you're at that you become happy to be who God made you. Paul couldn't die right if he wasn't good with it. He says, "I have finished my course". Not yours, Timothy. I wasn't asked to run Timothy's race. I was asked to run my race. I'm good with my race. I have finished my course. Resolution means I accept that. Now, can I take a little time? The third R I want to spend some time with is reciprocity. Reciprocity is real important. Reciprocity is sowing and reaping. It's seedtime and harvest. And I want you to get this, every relationship, whether it's business, personal, financial, emotional, or marital, will only survive to the degree that there is reciprocity.
You have to make sure that there is reciprocity. The whole Earth survives through reciprocity. Right now my whole back yard is covered with leaves, and the leaves are going to go back down into the ground and fertilize the soil so that the soil is not depleted. So, the tree that took from the soil is now giving back to the soil, and that's reciprocity. Never let anybody be better to you then you are to them. You might not give them back the same thing, but you got to give them back something, or it will die. Reciprocity is critical. Reciprocity is necessary. Reciprocity is not taught. So, now we got people who are better at taking than they are giving and then they can't figure out why the thing dies. It dies 'cause you rode the camel to death. You rode 'em down to nothing. You wore 'em out. It might show up in the first few years, but eventually they're gonna wear out because you are better at taking then you are at giving.
Reciprocity is very important, and what Paul is complaining about, what Paul is dying from, he didn't get reciprocity. If all the people that Paul had helped would have come to help him, they would have never killed him. You die because you give out. He says, "When my hour came to trial, I didn't get it back. I stood with everybody, nobody stood with me. They took me for granted till they wore me out". And anybody will die without reciprocity. Your daughter, your son, your husband, your wife, your savings, your career, your credit. I don't care what you apply it to, it survives through reciprocity.
If you don't learn anything else tonight, learn this. Don't just let people keep giving to you and say, oh, that's just how he is. He just like that, he just that kind of person. She just nice like that, she just so nice, she just so nice, and you'll never do nothin' back. You're going to kill the relationship. You are obligated. It might not be the same thing you give back, but you are obligated to give something back. The Earth gave the tree nutrients and all types of minerals in order for it to grow. The tree gave it back leaves, but it gave somethin' back. And I want to ask you, what are you giving back? For all you take and suck up and use, you got to make sure that in every area of your life there is reciprocity.
My wife and I've been married 39 years. We wouldn't have made it 39 years. We had hills, we had mountains, we had valleys, we had disappointments, we had pains, we had shortcomings, we had failure, we had hurts, but we also had reciprocity. When I got sick, she took care of me. When she got sick, I took care of her. When she was down, I cooked. When I was down, she cooked. Whatever it took to make it happen, I made it happen. I washed clothes, I mopped the floor, I did whatever I had to do. I shut down my schedule to let her know she's important. She will tell you right quick when it comes to me, she will fly where I am, she will come get me, she will come get me if nobody else will come and get me.
Our marriage survived not 'cause I was a good man, not because she was a good woman, our marriage survived because of reciprocity. A lot of you are losing and you don't know why you're losing. You're losing because you are not as intense about giving back as you are about getting. All roads lead to you. It's all about you, and as long as it's all about you, you are killing somebody, and generally it's somebody who loves you.
Hear me tonight, hear me tonight. I want you to get anointed to give back to the person that gives to you. Write this down, feed what's feeding you. The whole creation survives off of it. The oceans have water because of it. The reason the mist goes up in the air and we got clouds and the rain comes back down again is because everything God created survives off of this principle. Feed what's feeding you. If this is not feeding you, don't feed me. If it's feeding you, make sure you feed it back, 'cause reciprocity is a spiritual law. Sowing and reaping is reciprocity, and I'm not just talkin' about offerings. Find something, build something, bake something, make something, clean up something, do something. Make me miss you. I'm almost done, I'm almost done. I'm gonna stop, I'm almost done, but this is important, because it's killing us. We're not teaching people reciprocity.
My final number is number four, is reparations. God said, "That's all right, Paul. You didn't get it on Earth, but when you get to heaven, I'm going to give you reparations. None of them stood with you down here, but when you get to heaven, I'm going to give you the crown of righteousness. I'm going to give you double for your trouble. I'm gonna pay ya, I'm gonna pay you in retroactive pay for everything you didn't get on this side, I'm gonna make it up to you on that side". Can you prove it by the scriptures? Yes, Jesus, when he told the story about the good Samaritan and the good Samaritan got to the innkeeper and he gave him two denarius, and he said, "If I owe you anything, I'll pay you when I come back". He says, "I'll make it up to you, I'll give you reparations. I'll go back in the past and restore that the canker worm and the palmer worm and the locusts ate up".
The God we serve believes in reparations. So, to everybody whose account is out of balance and you're wore out and you're tired and you give more than you get back, God said, "Don't worry about it, if they don't pay you, I will. If they don't bless you, I will. If they don't appreciate you, I will. If they don't restore you, I will". As I close tonight, I have said some strong things to you tonight. I pray that you will use this to be a better person, a better deacon, a better leader, a better husband, a better wife, a better businessperson, a better community person. I pray that you would be, that the yoke of selfishness would break off of your neck and that you would stand by the people who stand by you.