A tearful Bishop Eddie Long recently revealed to his congregation that he’d considered suicide. The longtime leader of New Birth Baptist Church in Lithonia did not offer specific details around what led him to contemplate taking his own life, but the admission will undoubtedly lead back to the 2010 sexual allegations by Long’s “spiritual sons” that caused a media firestorm and threatened Long’s reputation and standing in the faith community.
In a video titled “The Power of God’s Love” posted to YouTube, Long tells his congregation that when he “was being condemned from the four corners of the earth, I had a moment when I wanted to kill myself and was ready.”
He credits the love of his congregation for pulling him from the brink.
“What kept me was not a scripture. What kept me was that every time I showed up here, you were here,” said Long.
The New Birth Baptist congregation, which stood firmly in support of Long during the allegations can be seen in the video walking toward the altar en masse with arms outstretched to cover their spiritual leader.
The message from Long in “The Power of God’s Love” stands in stark contrast to his 2010 declaration to fight the sexual allegations from his accusers after the lawsuits went public.
“I feel like David against Goliath. I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet,” Long famously said to his congregation in 2010 after enduring days of silence. His new message is one of love and gratitude towards a congregation that sustained him.
“I would not take my life for the one mere reason: my family loved me, my church loved me, and regardless of what anybody said, love lifted me and carried me,” said Long as tears visibly streamed down his face.
Ironically, Long, who led an estimated 20,000 people in his “Re-ignite The Legacy March” against marriage equality in 2004, also thanked his congregation for not passing judgment and admonished those who use social media to “kill one another.”
“And you didn’t judge me. There are folk here who know what I mean, that you’re alive because somebody loved you. They didn’t give you a sermon, they didn’t question you, they didn’t call you before a council,” he said.
“We have no right or justification to kill one another on social media, especially when you don’t know. And if we’re going to be saints, if we’re really going to move into the things God has, let’s love one another.”
The four lawsuits against Long were dismissed “with prejudice” in 2011.