In 2018, Pastor John Gray’s sermons went viral on two occasions. He first received backlash in early January for telling women they are unmarried because they “walk in the spirit of girlfriend.” And faced criticism once again towards the end of the year when he revealed to TV One’s ‘Sister Circle’ that his wife, Aventer, “endured more pain birthing him” than their children.
Now we are getting a peek into what exactly Aventer painfully struggled with within their marriage. The Grays recently renewed their vows in an extravagant ceremony, crowned by John gifting his wife with a brand new luxury car. It’s clear now that these gestures were public apologies amid reports Gray may have cheated and fathered a love child, according to gossip site Sandra Rose.
In recently resurfaced clips, John Gray alludes to his infidelity, telling his church that the pair were at the brink of divorce earlier in the year because of his inadequacies as a husband and father. Aventer takes over his testimonial, saying she “put scripture on that strange woman” who reportedly tried to infiltrate their union.
“When you know what your position is, everything else is false,” she says to the rowdy crowd. “I know who I am. I am the rib God took from him. I’m his Rest In Brokeness. RIB. Rest in brokenness. Until he wakes up and understands who he is. You pray wife, as the devils run away. Amen?”
“If you give up too soon, he wins,” she said referring to the devil.
You can watch the moment starting at 5:00m.
While I have no qualms with any woman who decides to stick with her husband and work through infidelity, I do have a problem with pastors using their positioning in the church to preach their personal decisions as gospel. While Eve was made from Adam’s rib, Rest In Brokenness as an acronym for RIB is not scripture. Also, the way Aventer “covered” his sins in the pulpit allowed him to remain innocent and victimized, while his wife tackled the devil and the harlot that tried to “take away” from their purpose. Once again, another woman publicly paying the price for a man’s indiscretions.
Telling women not to “leave too soon” is also a damaging message for women who may be cornered into unhealthy or abusive relationships and receive this “word” as their sign to stick it out. News flash: the devil isn’t always some “strange woman” who seduces your man; sometimes the devil is in your man having no self control. Sometimes the devil is the man who is so insecure he needs a harem of women to validate him. And if that’s the case, yes, as a praying woman I believe God can change things–in partnership with a licensed counselor or therapist.
Bottom line, not all relationships should be worked on. And while I see Aventer and Pastor Gray’s testimony as a personal one, I fear their sermons often get applied like a blanket statement to cover a myriad of unhealthy relationship situations for women.
This isn’t #relationshipgoals that deserve resounding amens from an impressionable choir. This is a couple who needs to show more discernment in how they preach their decisions as aligned with God’s will for everybody.