Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mel Gibson Is Anti-Semitic


What else can be said about Mel Gibson? By no means do I want to add to the piling on he has experienced in the past week. Following his drunk driving arrest and his profane and prejudiced comments about Jews Mel was apparently very contrite. He didn’t pretend that he was misunderstood or misquoted. Mel admitted that he had been despicable and said horrific things. He apologized and committed himself to finding ways to reach out to the Jewish community.

I’m a Mel Gibson fan. I like his movies. I’m pulling for him to overcome his alcoholism. I’m willing to forgive him and I don’t quite get it why others feel a need to punish him.

But, I reject Mel’s claim that he is not anti-Semitic.

You drop a tea bag into hot water and you’ll find out what kind of tea you have. The hot water merely releases what is already inside of the tea bag. In Mel’s case the alcohol released what was inside of him. Several Jewish colleagues of Mel’s have come forward and testified that they know him and they know that he’s not anti-Semitic. Sorry, I still contend that it was anti-Semitism that came out of Mel’s heart.

I’m not concluding that Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite in a condemning way. He claims to be a Christian. If so, I believe that following Jesus can bring a fully transforming power to his life that thoroughly changes his heart.

Mel involuntarily had his heart revealed. He now has an opportunity to let God transform him. You don’t have to have your heart revealed, but you may choose to. You see, following Christ is not a matter of just being good or moral. Following Christ is an act of courage to see clearly what is in your heart and to invite Christ to invade your heart and radically change it.

6 comments:

Michal W. said...

By the grace of God, I have had some planks taken out of my own eyes in regards to areas similar to Mr. Gibson. When I hear the story of this man, I empathize and recognize the symptoms of self-destructiveness, not anti-semitism. It is not unusual for someone who suffers from self-destructiveness (as evident with alcoholism) to hold conflicting forces within - both a desire and attempt to embrace a value along with an opposing force that seeks to destroy and undermine that very same value. I believe the Apostle Paul addressed this very issue of internal battle when he spoke of doing the very thing he did not want to do. The good news is that God is more than willing to help deliver us from evil and that happens to be a process (sometimes long and drawn out - not fun!!).

As believers, we have much freedom, as long as we use it toward that which is constructive. We ought to be in the business of constructing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth - agape community. I do not believe it is a relection of God's compassion to stand apart, commenting and objectifying others' suffering in order to set an example in the court of public opinion. We are called to judge all things - not solely to determine the degree of suffering, but also the amount of love and deliverance to administer and whether or not we are equipped with the level of faith to respond to the call (according to God, people with "plankless" perspective qualify).

I think to have one's testimony impugned (along with that of close friends) is very demoralizing. We ought to look for ways to encourage and edify a person's spoken desire to reform.

I invite you to consider that we can show the rest of humankind the difference between worldly and agape community and use our own personal testimonies to make an impact. Your words will have more of a positive influence with me if they are in regard to your own personal overcoming in situations similar to those you mention here.

Thanks for the opportunity to express my feelings.

Scott Brewer said...

Michal,

Thanks for your very thoughtful comments. I agree with your reflections about Mel's self-destructiveness and the inner conflict that many of us contend with that Paul describes in Romans 7.

As for objectifying Mel and/or his circumstance, I do consider Mel a real human being (not just a celebrity) who has real feelings. As I said, I'm a fan and I'm pulling for him. Using a public figure's very public behavior as an illustration as to how the dark things in our heart come forth strikes me as fair treatment for a teachable moment for myself and for others.

I don't want to play a semantic game either but I don't think I impungned Mel's testimony or those who have spoken on his behalf. To impunge is to attack someone's opinion. I think I just disagree with their opinion.

Finally, the point of the post was to encourage myself and others to be inspired by Mel's couragous vunlnerability and humility and take a fresh look at our own hearts and invite God's redemptive and transforming work upon our hearts.

I'm taking your words to heart.

Michal said...

In light of Mr. Gibson's confession and statement that he is not anti-semitic, I found the title of your post to be antagonistic against his confession and it provoked a protective instinct within me. I know what it's like to be down and exposed. You absolutely have the right to use this as a teaching moment and I acknowldege that it is quite common in human nature to discuss a public figure with a public life and that most consider these folks fair game. But there is a difference between practicing what is fair and seeking God. God promises us justice but invites us to seek something better - faith. At any rate, I am no influence here so I will add no further comment. Thanks!

Scott Brewer said...

Michal:

Again, I appreciate your contribution to the conversation. Upon further reflection I think the title is harsh and perhaps sensational.

You've helped me to be more careful.

lup said...

I DO believe that alcohol and other drugs can unleash that which is in your heart. Personally, while I was taking pain meds, I unleashed many things that had been building up inside my heart and threw them at my husband. All I said was true, but flavored with unkindness,sprinkled with irrationality and were "hitting below the belt". Once off the meds, I had much more patience. But, patience doesn't heal the wound. It must be cleaned out first (and THAT hurts!)

Scott Brewer said...

Lup:

Thanks for illustrating my point with a personal story.

I pray that you're continuing to find grace that is transforming your heart and liberating you from old patterns.

Blessings,
Scott