Michael Sweet of openly Christian rockers STRYPER has urged his fellow believers to hold on to faith through disappointment, tragedy and loss, explaining that we shouldn't "blame God for every bad thing that happens to us."
Earlier today, Sweet took to his Facebook page to deliver the latest installment of his "coffee talk" where he offers his opinion on various topics related to his personal and professional life. He wrote: "Why is it that we as humans often praise God when things are going well yet curse God when things are going bad? We give God glory when something good happens but we also give God grief when something bad happens. I've always found that to be quite interesting. I've done it myself and do it myself.
"God isn't (IMO) a puppeteer on a cloud pulling our strings and deciding to make our days good or bad. That's up to us. The choices we make and how we handle the outcome of those choices is ours. God has given us all free will and with that comes responsibility. Taking responsibility for our own actions.
"Often we blame God if we don't get that new car, or that new home, or that new job," he continued. "We blame God if someone close to us is sick or if we lose a loved one. We blame God for the state of our country, the state of our world. At the same time we'll praise God when we get some unexpected cash in the mail or when we get a discount on a new toy or when someone we love is sick and they get better.
"Being human is an emotional and spiritual roller coaster ride and we all have an 'unlimited' day pass to ride. That's life. I don't believe however that God is pulling the strings as much as we think. I do believe that there are many things that determine how our lives turn out. From what we eat or don't eat to how we manage our own bodies. For example, my cholesterol is on the higher side these days and that's on me, not God. I'm doing something about it but I'm not waking up every day and praying for God to lower my cholesterol. He has nothing to do with it. If I have heart disease based on my diet that's not Gods fault. That's my fault.
"What's my point? Let's not blame God for every bad thing that happens to us. Let's take responsibility for our own actions and be realistic about our expectations from God. He's there, He cares and He's obviously in control of the universe but there are also many circumstances that have nothing to do with God. They have everything to do with us.
"I certainly could have turned my back on God when Kyle died," Michael added, referencing his late wife. "We devoted our lives to Him yet she was stricken with cancer. I had two choices — to either blame God and be bitter for the rest of my life or to realize that life is about tests and tribulations. Faith is about tests and tribulations. We live in a world that is imperfect and because of that we will all face adversity. The sooner we realize that it's not Gods fault but part of the plan itself, the better off we'll all be.
"I thank God for all that I have, all that I've done and all that comes my way".
Formed 38 years ago, STRYPER is the first overtly Christian metal band to go mainstream. The group's name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
In a 2018 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Michael said that STRYPER was never fully embraced by the heavy metal and hard rock communities, largely because of the band's Christian lyrics.
"We've never been accepted by either side," he said. "The secular side, the mainstream, they've never accepted us to this day. We're probably that band that everyone's going to go to whenever there's a time to mock. We'll be the band used for that in most cases. Now on the Christian side, we've never really had the full support of the Christian side because we don't fit into their little club. We're not wearing suits and ties and going to every church and preaching."
STRYPER's albums include "To Hell With The Devil", "Second Coming", the aforementioned "No More Hell To Pay", "Fallen" and the band's latest effort, "Even The Devil Believes".
Michael is joined in STRYPER by his brother Robert Sweet (drums), Oz Fox (guitars) and Perry Richardson (bass).