Back in May of 2013, when the story first broke that Lambesis had been arrested, I wrote a blog the very same morning giving my thoughts and expressing my confusion over the situation. A little backstory first:
I'm a Christian. As I Lay Dying was touted as the premier Christian metal band for a long time, and they were easily my favorite group. I found much inspiration from the lyrics Lambesis would scream. Even songs with darker subjects still had an underlying message of hope. So many people have the mindset that as Christians, life is supposed to be all sunshine and rainbows, but it is, in fact, the direct opposite. Jesus Himself even told His disciples "And you will be hated for My name's sake." (Matthew 10:22 NKJV) and "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matthew 11:12 NKJV)
One thing that my Pastor always stresses to people going through trials in life is that God never promised us happiness, He promised us joy. There's a big difference between happiness and joy. So, for me personally, when the storms of life raged, I turned to bands like As I Lay Dying for the message of hope, as well as the aggressiveness of their sound, as I've been a fan of heavy music for the great majority of my life.
I looked up to Tim Lambesis. And when he fell, I felt like a lost sheep. During this process, The Lord showed me just how dangerous it is to put our hope into anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ. That's what happened with Tim Lambesis, he began to put his faith in the things of this world: fame, steroids, promiscuity, and I've even heard reports he had fallen into harder drugs like heroin. Tim Lambesis began to let the wrong people speak into his life, and as a result, fell away from his faith in Jesus.
In a recent interview with Dokken guitarist George Lynch--who had a relationship with Lambesis--Lynch stated that Lambesis' faith and knowledge of the word of God were on theologian levels, and every argument Lynch made that were contrary to Tim's beliefs, Lambesis had an immediate rebuttal.
So what causes a man with that much faith to fall? There's no definitive answer, and it's easy for someone like me to ask that question because since I've begun a faithful walk with Jesus, I've been fortunate enough to have not been tempted by the things of my past. I don't know what happened with Tim Lambesis, and I can only pray that his time spent in jail was a redemptive process orchestrated by the King of Kings.
I find myself with mixed feelings following the announcement of Lambesis' early release from prison. In May of 2014, he was sentenced to six years in prison, but was released after meeting less than half that sentence. I believe in forgiveness, but I also believe in justice. Even if he had served his entire prison sentence, I still think that would be too little time for the crime he attempted to carry out. Many people find their faith while imprisoned, but that doesn't mean there aren't still consequences for their actions.
However, I'm not here to judge whether or not the man served the correct amount of time. If I had the power to determine that, I wouldn't be writing this blog right now because I would have a much more important job to do. I'm also not going to sit here and tell you that I'll never listen to As I Lay Dying again, because I still do on occasion. I still find those lyrics to be incredibly powerful and uplifting. I'm able to separate the art from the artist, which is why I'm also able to find spiritual inspiration from a band like Hatebreed.
Still one of my favorite songs ever.
The only thing that concerns me is that I'm afraid Lambesis is going to benefit from his crimes. He will likely return to making music, and people will listen to it. He will likely write a book about the whole ordeal, and I'm sure it'll be a bestseller. He will benefit from this, but his family won't. His former wife and their adoptive children, where is the upside of this situation for them? Does As I Lay Dying get back together after this? I doubt it, as it seems his former band mates have moved on to their new project, Wovenwar (which is terrible), and want nothing to do with Lambesis any longer.
Few other details have been released about Lambesis and his return home, but I'd be interested to know where he stands on his faith now. He claims to have lost his faith prior to his imprisonment, but he's had a lot of time to sit and think about things for the past two-and-a-half years. As a fan of his art, I pray Hebrews 12:29 over him, that he be consumed by the fire of God, and that his greatest days lie before him and not behind him. I pray that he begins to burn for Jesus with greater fervor than he ever has, and that his failures become a testimony to the greatness of an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God.
And for any person reading this that professes the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, understand the dangers of putting your hope into anything other than our Savior.
"And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him and said to him, "O you of little faith, why do you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God." (Matthew 14:26-33 NKJV)
Tim Lambesis took his eyes off of Jesus, and therefore, sank. Let this be an encouragement to you to keep your eyes fixed upon the one true Son of God, and when the tumultuous waters of life seek to destroy your ship, fear not, for the One who has the power to calm the waters is also the One who created them.
God bless you all, and thanks for reading.