The Australian musician who wrote “Healer” needed his own healing from a porn addiction. His tragic story should challenge us to embrace purity.
I play the song “Healer” all the time in my car. I can’t get the tune out of my head. You probably know the words:
I believe You’re my healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You’re my portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus You’re all I need.
Thousands of churches have been singing the popular worship chorus since Australian youth pastor Michael Guglielmucci wrote it in 2007. The Aussie worship band Hillsong United has made it a global anthem, and it’s especially popular among people battling illness. But the song took on a darker meaning in August when Guglielmucci admitted it was part of an elaborate hoax he created.
"When we sing ‘Healer’ from now on, let’s remember that Jesus wasn’t lying when He promised to heal our broken souls.”
Christians around the world felt shocked and betrayed when the 29-year-old minister admitted he had faked cancer for two years in a strange ploy to hide his secret pornography addiction. The fiasco has become one of the biggest scandals to rock Australia’s Christian community in years.
In a tearful apology aired on Australian television several weeks ago, Guglielmucci said he faked symptoms and wrote bogus e-mails from doctors. He sat in waiting rooms alone while his family assumed he was getting treatment. He appeared in church concerts with an oxygen tube in his nose, deceiving thousands of mostly teenage fans into believing he needed a physical healing.
This talented but tormented young man eventually trapped himself in his own deceptive web.
Church leaders asked him to confess his lies to the police, since he used the story to raise funds. He was stripped of his ministerial credentials and is now receiving psychiatric help. Aussie church leaders, including pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church in Sydney, had to make public statements to calm distraught churchgoers who feel betrayed and, in some cases, defrauded of their money.
I can’t begin to imagine the pain that Guglielmucci’s parents feel. (His father is an Assemblies of God pastor who read his son’s apology to a stunned congregation outside Adelaide). I am sure trust has been severely damaged among members of Guglielmucci’s family. But how do we respond when a leader fails us like this?
Thankfully, in Guglielmucci’s case, he did not justify his behavior. His apology was read in churches all over Australia. He told a news reporter: “I’m so sorry not just for lying to my friends and family even about a sickness, but I’m sorry for a life of saying I was something when I’m not. From this day on I’m telling the truth.”
On behalf of American Christians who (1) have endured our own share of religious scandals and (2) still believe that Jesus Christ heals today, I want to say to Michael Guglielmucci: We forgive you.
I’m not excusing his behavior. It’s possible he will go to prison for fraud. But at least he’s not denying his sin. And honest confession is the first step to true restoration. I pray Guglielmucci will embrace the process so he can not only preach the truth of Christ but also live the truth inside.
This sad drama from Down Under reveals a global problem that the church must face. Pornography is eating our culture alive—and it is affecting ministers along with everyone else.
Guglielmucci admitted that he began to weave his false story of illness in order to mask his addiction. Sometimes he felt so guilty after looking at porn that he couldn’t go to work—so he called in sick. He dug himself deeper every day. His little lies grew to become a monstrous con job.
This man’s pretend sickness was caused by a disease of the soul that plagues millions of people today, including many Christian men who wear masks to church to hide their shame. They haven’t stuck tubes in their noses or broadcast their lies to teenage audiences like Guglielmucci did, but they are lying just the same to cover up their lust. They, too, need to come clean.
If you are struggling with a porn addiction, I challenge you to take a bold step and confess your sin to your pastor, your spouse or a trusted Christian friend. Don’t hide any longer. Don’t live a lie. Lust does not have to control you. Jesus has provided a way of escape. Don’t wait until your sin is exposed; instead, expose your sin to the light of God’s holiness.
James 5:16 summarizes this simple formula: “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. (NASB)” Those ancient words still work today.
True healing is available from Jesus, not only for the victims of cancer but also for all those men like Mike Guglielmucci who are battling sexual addictions. When we sing “Healer” from now on, let’s remember that Jesus wasn’t lying when He promised to heal our broken souls.
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.
4 years ago