Lots of great discussion this week (both on and off the blog) about the recent post asking whether we should sing the song “Healer.” Thanks to so many of you who took the time to comment and weigh in. A number of people asked me this weekend what I thought about it, so here’s my answer to the question, “Should we sing this song at Second Mile?”
Briefly, my answer is, “Yes.”
Here’s my reasoning:
1. I like the song from a musical standpoint. This is not the most important reason, but I do like the song. I think the music is stirring and I love songs with big “anthem” type choruses.
2. The words are true. God walks with us through trials. God heals all our disease — sin in this life (and sometimes our bodies) and our broken lives completely in the age to come. God is the portion of believers. Jesus is more than enough for us. Nothing is impossible for him. These words are in line with biblical truth and helpful for God’s people. When I hear them and sing them, I am reminded of good things that my soul needs to hear.
3. It’s impossible to find songs written by sinless authors. God chose to use an adulterer/liar/murderer to write a good portion of his songbook, the Psalms. A number of the commentors mentioned this same idea. While I am saddened and grieved by Mr. Guglielmucci’s deceit and sin, I do not expect the songwriters of our songs to perfectly live out the truths that they write about. This past Sunday, we sang songs by Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Charlie Hall, and Elvina M. Hall. I suppose that if we were to know them personally and examine their lives, we would end up disappointed in some points.
4. The song serves as a helpful warning. It is possible to honor the Lord with your lips and have a heart that is far from him. You watch Mr. Guglielmucci sing this song with passion and fervor and it is a helpful warning that you too can have moments of real passion while harboring sin in your life. When I hear this song, I think to myself, “Luke, are your outward expressions of praise and adoration to God simply outward, or is there actual truth and integrity to the things you say, sing, and do?”
5. I can relate to the inner struggle of seeking to believe truth even when I’m not believing it. I suppose there are two ways to view Mr. Guglielmucci’s motivation to the song. The more cynical among us will say that he intentionally wrote a story that would be compelling in order to sell thousands of albums and that he’s just a pure huckster. The other, more optimistic, view is that he was battling the guilt of his life-dominating sin (pornography) and wrote these words as a way of preaching truth to himself and trying to talk himself into believing what is actually true. I’m not sure that we’ll ever know his motivation. Perhaps it’s a mixture of both. But I’m intrigued by the idea of the second view because I often find myself trying to preach things to myself because I’m having a hard time believing them. For instance, I regularly pray things like, “Jesus, you’re all I need” — even when I’m living as if what I really need is some kind of comfort or food or entertainment or approval. Therefore, I can’t help but wonder if this song was a kind of self-pep-talk for Mr. Guglielmucci as he tried to overcome the sin that had overtaken his life. Perhaps it was the truth of this song that eventually led him to come clean and confess his duplicity (as far as I can tell, he confessed on his own rather than being caught). Who knows. But I can relate to the need to preach truth to my heart that is “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love” (in the words of another songwriter who struggled to live out the truth of his lyrics)
6. I would enjoy teaching the lessons from this situation to our people. A number of people commented that they would be a bit distracted by this song if we were to sing it on Sunday. I understand that feeling and did feel distracted when I sang it at another church recently. But the distraction was thinking over things like the points above and remembering that Jesus is the satisfying portion I need every single day. I think teaching this might serve as a warning to those who need to be warned, might help expose those who need to be exposed, and might encourage those who need to be encouraged.
So, those are my thoughts. I’m not saying that they’re right or best, but I have thought them through. Matthew and I have not even really discussed whether this will be a song we sing at Second Mile, so stay tuned. Either way, I hope you’ve been challenged in your thinking and encouraged to walk closer with Jesus. He is more than enough.