Some weeks ago, we reported that Pastor John Gray had been caught in another inappropriate, sexually suggestive relationship with a woman other than his wife. Not only was he sending this woman money, soliciting pictures of a sexual nature, he exacerbated the situation by involving his son in communicating with the woman who was not only recording their exchanges but saving them in an attempt to eventually sent them out to the media.
Those of you who have been following John Gray know that this was not the first time his actions with women other than his wife have landed him in the news.
And unlike last time, where he and his wife preached together about his brokenness and the strange woman who attempted to destroy their marriage and their church, Gray appeared seated alone on a darkened stage.
The message entitled Face It addressed his indiscretions, God’s love and forgiveness, and a moment of chastisement for those who celebrate the downfall of others.
Check out the highlights from his message and the full video below.
“I just want to take a moment to say to you Relentless Church, to the body of Christ, to those who have looked to me as an example of leadership and pastoral oversight, I want to take this moment to tell you I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the areas of my life that I left unattended, that I was apathetic about. The areas where I have treated the calling of God, the grace of God and the hand of God casually in my life. For every area of behavior that has dishonored the holiness of God, I want to tell you I’m sorry.
There have been a number of things, blogs, some of it accurate, some of it not but all of it, my responsibility. I apologize for putting the name of God in harm’s way. And I and I alone take the responsibility for the actions that harmed and injured God’s sheep.
No matter how many pseudo excuses one can hurl in a moment like this, for the purposes of self preservation, all of that rings hollow when all that is truly needed is the truth. My prayer for you in this moment is that you will use the discernment of the Holy Spirit to see if this is remorse or repentance. I have learned that remorse simply means ‘I’m sad because you found out.’ Repentance is I’m sorrowful and I will change.
Gray shared that he always struggled with the feeling that something was wrong with him. He said he often asked God why he was chosen. And then later, why did you raise me up if you know ‘that my humanity was going to explode behind the façade of religious perfection.” He said God told him:
“This is the process by which you will learn two things about me. There is nothing about you that has occurred to me. I knew who you were before I chose you. And number two, I love you too much to let you live a lie.”
“For those who need to hear me say this, the name of the Lord is Holy. The standard is holiness. The word of God is utterly holy. He is not to be toyed with. Church is not a game. Pastors are held to the highest of standards. Moral integrity. Character when no one is looking. Fidelity and faithfulness in marriage. And for me, not submitting to process, not staying accountable, and not utilizing the voices available to teach me the tools, have caused me to make bad decisions.
And I want to make it very clear again that no one carries that but me.
As I’ve said to my wife, I say to her now in the moment, Aventer I am sorry for the pain that I have caused you. And my prayer is that the life I live from this moment will be one worthy of the love that you have extended and that our family receives from. I am grateful for you, for our children and I pray that God would restore the joy that we had in the days when we would drive around the city dreaming. You know more than everyone else the areas of pain that I’ve carried for years. The horrific, self-fulfilling prophesies. That you told me stop confessing those things. But I believe that this moment had to come so that God could make me the man that I need to be. But I’m sorry for that pain that I’ve caused. You don’t deserve it. You’re an amazing woman of God and I love you. And I will face me so that the man that comes out of this moment will be able to honor you in a way that I never have before.
Gray revealed that he has been in therapy for some time now, individually and with his wife. But he shared that you can repent and return but the devils will not. Gray said, “But I want to make it very clear, no matter where I’ve been or the things that I’ve done, I am not that person. Because none of us are our worst thing or our best thing.
I found myself running from accountability, running from the safety of wise counsel, making decisions from my anger, my rage, my pain and my emotion. Because of that I have put everything that God has ever entrusted to me in harm’s way. A consistent pattern rooted in a lack of identity and a shame that I can’t shake. But God in his mercy has given me this chance to be an example to my son and my daughter and to the body of Christ. That no matter how gifted you are, how well-known or how famous or how many people follow you on social media. If you say that you serve God but you don’t line up with his standard, He will deal with you.
What I’ve learned about God is he will always address you privately before he addresses you publicly. But out of his love, He will defend the integrity of his name. It’s God’s job and prerogative to expose…God alone will have to deal with His church but right now, He’s dealing with me. And I’m submitting, not out of shame but out of thanksgiving. I know this may sound crazy but I’m so grateful that God has whooped me publicly.
Too long churches have been built based on personality. One of the reasons I didn’t address my issues sooner was because I incorrectly assumed that if I left this seat that the church would fall apart. What pride to assume that a Holy God needed an unholy, unsubmitted vessel to do His work. If God can use a donkey, He can use a man to get His will done. But I want to participate with God and I want to be whole while I do it. And I’ve never been whole. I’ve always presented this picture. But the truth is I’ve always been fascinated by healthy marriages and by strong men who knew who they were. I’ve always been fascinated by the people who walk it, live it and talk it. Because for so many years, I saw the presentation of church and not the truth of the gospel.
And somehow I said I despised it but secretly there was a part of me that envied that people could live how they want and still preach, could do what they want and still have a gift. But the Bible makes it clear that you can preach really well and sing people into a frenzy and still end up in hell. Because hell is real and God is holy.
There was something in me that wished I could get away with what people are doing. But I found out, I’m a terrible sinner so Ima stop trying and I’m going to serve the Lord with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength.
To those who would look at me and say, ‘Yeah man, you said all this stuff before, you’re a fake, you’re a phony. Let me tell you something. I’ve never preached anything other than the gospel of repentance.
Use my life as an example. I’m not fake. I’m human. Fake is saying shame on you for the same thing I struggle with…I’m a man who needs the same Jesus I preach about.
I want to take a moment to thank some of my friends. You know who you are but I thank you for confronting me in love. There are some people who say, ‘Man, it’s cool I understand. God understands.’ No. I needed the friends who said, ‘John, I’m distancing myself because I don’t like how you handle your money and I don’t like how you live your personal life. It’s unsafe and it’s unbecoming of a man of God.’ And those are wounds that cause you to wake up and realize that you can’t live your life, your way serving God.
This whole idea that Samson found himself with a woman that was designed to kill him and he chose it. Let me tell you what sin does, it blinds you to the reality that there are people who genuinely want to see your demise. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you who are the Delilahs in your life. Delilah was sent from hell but she looked and smelled like heaven. The enemy never sends something that you don’t have an appetite for. He will always send you what speaks to the unresolved areas in you.
If you attempt to fulfill a legitimate need in an illegitimate manner. The enemy can have victory in that area, in that moment. And yes God forgives but there are consequences for our actions. There are people who may never listen to me preach again and I am so very sad about that. But then I also believe that this moment will call more people to repentance until salvation. In that, my pain will have been worth it.
As of today, I’m not only going to champion therapy and mental health professionals, I’m going deeper into the process so that I, once and for all, can receive the same freedom that I pray for for everyone else.
Some of you may say Pastor, what’s the difference between this moment of your life and other moments that we have walked with you through? I never submitted to anybody, whether through shame, fear, an inflated sense of worth. ‘Well, the church needs me to keep preaching so that people can take care of their families.’ If God needed someone who was stuck in sin to help Him, then I ain’t read the Bible. God’s church is His business. It is my prayer that a mature Relentless church will continue to sow into this great work while I continue to seek the help, the health, the healing and wholeness that I deserve.
I’m asking you to pray for me if you were fighting for your life, if you were fighting for your freedom, if you were fighting for wholeness…My gift will not dictate my healing. My position will not dictate my healing. Some weeks you’ll see me, others you won’t. But my prayer is that you will maintain your diligence and commitment to this church, the local church and the global church collectively.
More than living a lie for people, I want to walk in truth for my family.
Racial injustice is still a thing…people have better things to do than to stay on blogs rejoicing in what they think is the demise of what they have incorrectly ascribed as a charlatan. Nah. I didn’t make me. God made me and He’s going to get the glory out of my life. There are people who have made brokenness a commodity, seeking the worst about people to monetize their pain and vulnerable moments. May the Lord heal whatever broken places that are in you that needs to see someone fall for you to feel better about yourself…My failures will not be the final chapters of my life. Live right. Stop gossiping. Stop hating. Stop hoping for other people to fail so that you can feel better. May the body of Christ grow up and may we reflect the restorative power of Jesus on the beach instead of trying to kill our wounded.
You can listen to Gray’s full sermon in the video below.