In his New Year’s Eve sermon, a well-known megachurch revealed that he spent much of 2018 in a very dark place, where he contemplated taking his own life.
Pastor John Gray admitted to his congregation that he had contemplated suicide, thinking his family would be fine without him.
Gray, wearing all black, stood in front of his congregation, referring to his getup as, “my funeral outfit.”
He continued, “2018 tried to kill me, so I thought I’d dress for the occasion.”
“What was trying to bury you, you are going to bury it,” he told congregants, as shouts and cheers arose from the crowd.
Gray went on to explain that 2018 was filled with “supernatural demonic attacks.”
“I literally thought about how I could end my life and still get to Heaven and somehow my kids would not be scared but there was no way I could figure out how to do it. And I’m not the only person that thought about that. I’m not the only person the devil attacked in that area,” Gray said.
The only reason he stopped himself from doing the unthinkable was the fear of scarring his children for life.
Gray revealed that he had demons from his past that he needed to deal with, and the only thing that helped get him off the edge was counseling.
“The truth is some of the stuff that tried to kill me I helped. Nobody wants to shout. Everybody needs to know some stuff wasn’t the devil, some stuff was you. It would be great if we shout for that too because when you shout for that what you’re saying is I take personal responsibility,” he said.
“I wanted to call it quits. ‘Hey you sound like you need counseling,’” he recalled thinking.
Gray argued that sometimes there are things that you have to work through, and not just pray about.
“You do too. You do too. And I have counselors,” he added. “And let me help you. Some stuff you can’t slap oil on your forehead and ask for it to go away. Some stuff you gon’ have to work out. Some stuff you gon’ have to walk out. And you gonna need some certified Christian counseling and some therapy.”
Gray emphasized that if you don’t completely heal from something, it will go to sleep and resurface later.
He encouraged his congregation to seek out help if they too were fighting demons that felt stronger than themselves. He encouraged them to not let the demonic forces take root in their lives and to eradicate them with all their being.
This past weekend, Gray attended a leadership training session led by Bishop T.D. Jakes at First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Maryland. While he was speaking, Jakes walked up to Gray, stating that he felt the power of suicide in Gray’s home, rebuking it in front of the entire crowd.
“I don’t even want to open this up in public because I know how deep it is,” Jakes said. “But the Lord, power of the anointing is passing by. There is too much anointing in this room to minister to everybody else and leave you sitting over there festering and festering and festering, especially, you said it in a joking way but especially when the spirit of suicide hangs around your house. I’m trying to get you back.”
Laying hands on Gray, Jakes cried out, “I call it out.”
“You don’t get to run,” he said. “You don’t get to hide, you don’t get to quit, you don’t get to faint, you don’t get to do any of that.”
“It’s not a stage that you prayed for,” Jakes continued. “It’s not a building that you prayed for. It’s not an opportunity that you prayed for. You’ve always wanted God to make a man out of you and He’s using the stage to make a man out of you. He’s using the building to make a man out of you. He’s using the opportunity to make a man out of you.”
In his New Year’s Eve message, Gray also stressed the importance of an honest and vulnerable pastor.
“There is no perfect pastor and the days of this façade of super perfection from the pulpit is over. I wanted to end it,” he said.
Gray’s message is important: Just because a person is in a position of power in the church, doesn’t mean they don’t face their own demons too.
Just last year, pastor Andrew Stoecklein of Inland Hills Church in California committed suicide after a quiet but devastating battle with depression. His wife, Kayla, has now set out to be a voice for those that feel voiceless.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re looking for counseling services in your area, consult the Christian Counselors Network.