Last year, Pastor John Gray revealed that he and wife, Pastor Aventer Gray, went through a crisis in their marriage and were on the brink of divorce due to an extramarital affair on his part. As the Relentless Church leader put it during a sermon, “I started listening to the wrong voice and let some people get too close, and she found out and she set it off like a good wife should.”
While he didn’t specify what exactly he’d done when it came to that outside connection, later on there would be rumors of a child fathered outside of his marriage. And while all has been forgiven between the couple (Aventer said she used scripture against “that strange woman” and it worked), Gray decided he still wanted to set the record straight during a visit to The Real on Monday. He opened up about what was really going on within and outside of his relationship.
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When Adrienne Houghton asked him whether or not he had an affair, he said “The answer is no, I didn’t.” In response, Aventer clapped gleefully. He did, however, change his tune later and admit he did engage in an emotional affair that he knows was dead wrong.
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“Over a year ago, my wife and I were in a very difficult place in our marriage. And in that time I began to converse with someone other than a counselor, other than a pastoral leader, which is literally where I should have taken my issues and challenges and began to converse,” he said. “And I was even in the presence of that person one time. But being in the presence of someone is not the same as sleeping with them. I did not sleep with anyone. There is no baby. There’s none of that. So it’s important for me to take responsibility for the areas where I did come up short. Sharing things about my marriage outside of my wife and outside of trusted counselors, it was wrong, and I take responsibility for that. But I will not take responsibility for that which I did not do. As a pastor, it’s important for people to know when I get up in that pulpit, I come not as a perfect man, but as a broken man, which is why we talked about these very things at the first sermon of our church. People act like this is something brand new, but we’ve walked through this. We have peace, but people don’t. The genesis of this was over a year ago, but we talked about this in May at our church. And so we’re moving forward, we’re believing God that this will be an opportunity for other people to heal. But I do want to set that record straight.”
During that original sermon from last summer, Gray said that over a span of two years, he and Aventer went through their share of ups and downs that he felt he needed to keep hidden.
“What they didn’t see is that for the last two years we weren’t sure if we would even make it. This is what the people saw,” he said while he and Aventer held a fake, wide smile. “But they didn’t see the tears at night. They didn’t see the times when one of us was sleeping on the couch because of argument. We had to keep smiling because even though we were struggling and even though I was failing as a husband, I was already in front of the people and the people can’t really receive my brokenness because where do leaders go when they bleed? Because sheep don’t do well with blood so I had to bleed alone.”
Aventer shared that she was her husband’s rib, or “Rest in Brokenness” during that time and it helped them heal. She prayed nonstop for her husband and against the devil.
“You pray, wife, while the devils run away. I’m not saying to sit there in perpetual foolishness, I’m saying to pray the devils away,” she said. “If you give up too soon, he wins. But he couldn’t have this purpose.”
“I see you devil, but you don’t want it with me,” she added. “I get in the eyes of the devil, you hear me? You can’t have this here, devil! I don’t care! I just look cute! But the devil don’t want it with me! I put scripture on that strange woman! She don’t want it with me, and she don’t want it with y’all. Amen!”
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