There used to be a time when I could just write you and talk about anything. Well, every now and then I am entangled in some sort of legal matter and I cant send an email because of the judge's instructions or the advice of my own attorneys. But I can tell you about this now because its over. I usually dont bring you the negative stuff but I know that everybody who has rushed to tell you that I was being sued won't rush to tell you that I WON! So, here it is:
For the last 7 days Ive been in court in Marshall, Texas. So thats why I couldnt talk to you last week about HOUSE OF PAYNE which, by the way, is number one AGAIN! Thanks for watching it! This season is so great. Just watch these new episodes. Im so happy how they have turned out. Just wait...just wait! The show just keeps getting better and better. Im so proud of the cast. They work so hard. Its on tonight and every Wednesday on TBS.
Now, on to why I was in court in Marshall. There is a woman from Dallas who claimed that I took her script and wrote DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN. Isnt that crazy? Out of 13 plays, 126 episodes of a television show, 7 movies and all these DVDs, I have never had this happen to me. I dont even know this woman. To all the future writers out there and the people who have gotten mad at me because I wouldnt take your script and read it--this is why I do not take scripts from people. And this has been my policy since Ive been in this business. I do not read or receive other people's work. Its unfortunate because there are so many great writers out there who are trying to get a break. However, due to situations like this, I cannot and do not. In my opinon, the reason they filed this case in Marshall is because they thought I wouldnt want to spend a week there. They thought that I would give her some money to go away. That was a foolish thought. She was attacking my name, so I packed my bags, rented me a Nissan, and moved right into the Holiday Inn on Highway 59.
Now, I dont know how this got to court but it did. These are the facts. Even though this womans copyright date was 5 years after mine, she still was able to file this suit even though I had never met this woman, nor had ever seen her script. Her theory was that she had sent her script to Oprah. Between that and this woman sending her script to someone else, who gave it to someone, who gave it to someone else and that person, whomever it was, MUST have given it to me. And it was also implied that until DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN - The Movie was released, I didnt have ANY success, and thats the reason I must have stolen her script. Now, you know thats not true. But I think the hardest thing Ive ever been through in my adult life was to sit there and listen to these people imply to that jury that Im a liar and a thief. Now, that took me back to my father because I couldnt say a word. I didn't get to speak until I got up to testify. Despite all of that, she was asking the jury to give her 41 million dollars. I so wish you could read her script. I cant post it because I dont want her to try to sue me for that. But Im sure somebody has or will put it up online. The first time I ever saw it or heard it was when my lawyer, Veronica Lewis (Shes an amazing lawyer. She practices in Dallas.), made her read her script in court. As she read the first page I was getting so angry because this was no where near DIARY. I had to lay 150 people off for a week this close to Christmas in this economy to go down there. I had spent a lot of time and effort defending this thing. I had to pray so hard after that.
Now, hear me clearly when I say this. I am not mad at this woman or her lawyers. My prayer for them is, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." No matter how I tried to be angry with her I couldnt. As awful as this was, I realized that if God did not want me to have this experience, then no man on earth could have made it happen. Once I realized that it became clear to me that there were lessons to be learned here. What I have found out is that if God wants to talk to you, Hell stop you. And, unfortunately, I was so busy that I hadnt had a revival in awhile. So, I began to pray and worship. Once I got my emotions out of the way and began to be present in the moment, I started taking notes of all the lessons God was showing me. I was amazed!. Believe it or not I became GRATEFUL! And when I became grateful, the rest was over. I WON THE CASE! The jury was unanimous in their verdict. I WON!!!
I said all of that to ask you this. What awful things are you resisting and regretting? Have you searched for a lesson in them? What difficult thing are you going through right now? And are you surrendering or are you fighting? The biggest lesson Ive learned is that sometimes battles are won by surrender, worship and being grateful. To all my folks struggling and fighting, make sure youre fighting to keep what God wants in your life. Dont let material things stress you out. If youve got to give up the house or the car or the job, then it's okay! Dont kill yourself trying to hold on to what may need to be let go. I have been there. When I was scrambling I had to make choices between gas and lunch. I was hiding from the calls of the bill collectors on the telephone. To this day I dont like to hear the phone ring at my house. I'm serious! All of my ringers are off. Fax me...LOL! Listen to me. I lost that apartment that I showed you but gained a home. I lost my job but gained a business. I lost my car but got a better one. Surrender. Simplify your life because when you trust God life gets better.
YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT! SURRENDER! Let God take you where He wants you to go. So, if you would take the advice of someone whos been through a lot, pray and say, "LORD, I surrender all!" Jesus didnt have a place to live but he always had a place to pray.