Sermon Illustrations

Why Mike Guglielmucci Lied to the World

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 soul.

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...

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