Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, rebuked a spirit of suicide from fellow megachurch Pastor John Gray on Saturday, just days after Gray revealed he had been contemplating suicide.
“I literally thought about how I could end my life and still get to Heaven and somehow my kids would not be scarred 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 in a recording of his sermon to his church on New Year’s Eve posted to YouTube.
Gray, who recently became pastor of Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, after serving at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Texas, has faced much public scrutiny in recent months for lavishing his wife with a $200,000 Lamborghini. He also admitted last summer to listening to voices that lured him away from his wife and his family and to being on the brink of getting a divorce.
Dressed in all black attire, which he called “my funeral outfit,” he quipped that “2018 tried to kill me so I thought I’d try to dress for the occasion.”
While revealing that the backlash that he received over some of his personal choices triggered his suicidal ideation, he also revealed in the sermon that he was getting counseling because prayer alone wasn’t enough to deal with some of the unresolved trauma he has in his life.
“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 said, mimicking criticism.
“You do too. You do too. And I have counselors,” he revealed. “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.”
On Saturday, at a special leadership training session at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Marlboro, Maryland, Bishop Jakes revealed to Gray that the spirit of suicide was still lurking in his home and he openly rebuked it.
“I don’t even want to open this up in public because I know how deep it is,” Jakes explained in a clip from the session posted to YouTube.
“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,” said Jakes in the video as he laid hands on Gray and shouted “I call it out.”
Gray went to his knees and buried his face in his hands on the ground.
“You don’t get to run. 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,” Jakes continued as members of the church gathered around the South Carolina preacher.
Jakes then told Gray that God was using the storms in his life to “make a man out of you.”
“It’s not a stage that you prayed for. 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,” he said.
He told Gray that he was gifted and anointed because he was “broken.”
“You know how to bless everybody and everybody got your gift but nobody got you,” he said. “They got your gift but nobody got you.”
In an interview with Sister Circle last November, where he discussed his new book Win from Within: Finding Yourself by Facing Yourself, Gray, who also has his own Oprah Winfrey Network reality TV show “The Book of John Gray,” pointed out that the trappings of worldly success weren’t enough to protect people from suicide.
“The external trappings of success have given us rose-colored glasses to what we think will give us peace. But if money could give you peace, if cars and houses could give you peace, then wealthy people wouldn’t commit suicide. And people who are on TV wouldn’t be taking anti-depressants because fame and money and things do not give you peace,” he said.
He also talked about facing his insecurities and said his wife, Aventer, married a broken man.
“When you’re single and you can lie to yourself, it’s easy to love what you see. But when you live in community with another person, all of the masks begin to crumble. So now my wife is left with a picture of a shadow of a man that she thought she knew and now I’m dealing with the unintended consequences of not healing properly from sexual abuse or not having the proper information on how to foster intimacy or what it means to be a Christian and a black man and the child of a single parent and not know what it means to build your house,” he explained.
“And so now I’m trying to be a husband and a father and a leader and I didn’t see any of those up close. So how can you be what you’ve never seen? No I’m running blind, scared outta my mind, crying most nights and I’m tired. And so I said I wonder how many other people have been faking it? Many of us are weary,” he said.
In his sermon on New Year’s Eve, Gray argued that people should stop expecting pastors to be perfect.
“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.