Go With ME
Embracing our Sacred Responsibility with Christ
Will the real Mel Gibson please stand up?
But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man. Matthew 15:18 (NASB)
Several years ago there was a popular TV game show called, I've Got a Secret. The purpose of the show was to stump the panel by bringing in a series of characters posing as difficult-to-recognize celebrities. Do you remember the show? Maybe it was before your time, but it was a lot of fun to watch, as the panel would ask a series of questions to narrow down their search for the true character. With all the hubbub surrounding Mel Gibson lately, my mind went back to the old TV program, as I, too, want the real Mel Gibson to stand up. Like many of you, I am confused with the antics that the guy looking like Mel Gibson is showing the world. So, let's you and I try to find the real guy, using his character, the interviews, and today's current events. Here they are:
Mad Max: Maybe this is a giveaway for the real Mel. He was a hero against some bad guys, as he knocked a few teeth out. But they deserved it, right? Didn't' see him do it to any women, even though some deserved it. He was a bad dude, but he was also a good guy who did some good. Good and bad. Is this the real Mel Gibson?
Braveheart / William Wallace: Now this is a guy we all want to follow, right? He was brave. He was inspirational. He was in the right, for he fought for the freedom of the Scottish people. Maybe there was a giveaway when he answered a comment in French to a man who thought Wallace / Mel wouldn't know what he was saying. The man said in French that Wallace / Mel was nothing more than an ignorant savage, to which Mel replied in French and Latin, "I am not ignorant, but I am a savage." Can a man be both civil and a savage? Is this the real Mel?
The Patriot / Benjamin Martin: Benjamin / Mel was a peaceful farmer who lived as a pacifist until his son was killed by a ruthless Englishman. When that happened, the savage who lay deep within him came out with fury. Mel was now an American hero in this movie, justified to act with vengeance and cruelty. Can a man feel justified in his own mind to go against his core values when deeply provoked? Is this the real Mel Gibson?
The Passion of the Christ: Directed by Mel Gibson, this was a powerful, influential movie about the suffering of Christ for our Atonement. Mel received a lot of criticism for directing this movie, as well a lot of acclaim for his courage in doing so. To me, Mel's finest hour was when he was on Larry King's show and was asked, "Who really killed Jesus? Was it the Jews?" This was a baited question, for there was concern that the movie was anti-semitic and would create hate groups toward Jews. Mel answered Larry, "I killed Jesus because of my sin. We all killed Him, for He came for the purpose of dying for our sins." When I saw this interview and Mel's response to the question, I became a Mel Gibson fan. Is this the real Mel Gibson, a man of courage, conviction, and a brother in Christ?
Mel Gibson family man: Married to one woman for a long period of time by Hollywood standards, as well as raising 7 children. He seemed to have figured out how to work in the film industry, yet keep his family values, and his faith, intact. Is this the real Mel Gibson?
Mel Gibson of late: The last character representing Mel Gibson is a breathless, profane, angry person, seething with rage, as he talks to his former girlfriend, the mother of his latest child. This guy is pathetic. There is no hero in this version of himself. There is no defender of the weak or protector of the innocent in this fellow. He is a guy everyone could hate, because he hates himself. He hates what he's done to his family, his reputation, his life, and to all those who love him, especially the One Who died for Him. He acts like a guy who went to sleep as one person and woke up suddenly, being another. He's asking, "What happened to me? This is not me! Who is this? How did I become this person? How did I fall so quickly, and become so devastated?" Is this the real Mel Gibson?
If you were on the I've Got a Secret panel, based on the scripture referenced above, and applying it as litmus test for sniffing out the real Mel Gibson, what would be your answer? Probably the last guy, right? But not necessarily so. Surely, it is the man Mel has become. But I think there is more to it than what we now see. I believe it is the man he became because he left the man he really is, and it can happen to any of us. I believe the present Mel represents any of us who feels cocksure we will never fall because we have everything in control. Mel left his moral bearings and the sanctuary of his home and family to have some fun, like King David did with Bathsheba. He was baited and taken in by the enemy of his soul, and there are now a lot of people discrediting the good things he did. But what can we learn from this, and is there any hope for Mel?
I believe Mel, at one time, was very close to becoming a man after God's own heart. I think his interview with Larry King revealed this. But Mel didn't recognize the danger he was putting himself in when he declared his faith so clearly, and unashamedly, to the world. He put a major target on his back and went to war without the spiritual equipment needed to stand strong. Braveheart would have known this. He was likely isolated from accountability, celebrating his successes, and feeling invulnerable. He saw some "eye candy" in another woman, started an affair with her, birthed a child out of wedlock, and woke up wondering what happened. Like most guys, he started the blame game by feeling used by her. He became a coward by becoming the victim, and he will perpetuate his problems if he stays this course. There is a name for a person like this, one who follows this path. The name, and what caused it, is found in the following scripture. Can you see it?
Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife? For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly. Proverbs 5:20-23 (NIV)
So who is the real Mel Gibson? Look! He's standing to show the real guy. A man with a sign hanging around his neck, with a name painted on it, steps forward. He is a composite person made up of all the characters Mel represented in his movies and the bad man we also see today. He has some good qualities and a lot of bad ones. He took the bait and fell with a mighty thud. He stands before us with his new name in clear view. Mel's new name displayed on the sign hanging around his neck is, "Ensnared." Like many others before him, he is the latest celebrity victim of the enemy who wants to destroy and humiliate any Christian who plays in his backyard. Another Christian guy, along with many others, bites the dust and now must face the consequences of his actions.
Can Mel be forgiven these things he has done to His God and family? Oh yes. God can, and will, forgive him, if he sincerely repents and owns up to his sin. His family? I don't know. There will be a lot of consequence for Mel's actions, and broken hearts and broken relationships will be part of it. Can Mel be restored to the old man and old life he once had? Hopefully not, for that man was a fool, and fools don't learn from their mistakes. Hopefully, by learning from his mistakes, Mel will become a new man, a better man out of this, if he will turn to God in personal abandonment and absolute trust. Can this sorrowful situation produce any good from it? You be the judge. Can you and I learn something vicariously from Mel's foolish choices, not to make the same mistakes ourselves? I tell you there is a signed called "Ensnared" ready to be hung around our neck if we fail to understand the lure of enemy and how he baits men into one of his traps. Yes, good can come from this for us if we will understand that it can happen to all of us, and if we will stand guard against it. Good can come from this for Mel, as well, but he must become broken and contrite before the Lord.
Hopefully, Mel will not take the celebrity route by entering a vogue addiction clinic as his excuse for his behavior, as a way to repair his public image. Do you get as tired as I do with this excuse? Hopefully, he will be an honest man by admitting his mistake, acting as a man should with his responsibilities. Hopefully, Mel will go back to his church for influence and leadership that will lead him back to Christ. But, please, church, if he does return to you, do not allow this man to think he can buy his way out of this by a large gift to you. If anything, prove your genuine love for the man by not allowing him to soothe his seared conscience using his great wealth. Encourage him to get on his knees and wash some dirty feet and lift discouragement from those who need someone to love them. This will help Mel more than any financial gift he will give you. Show him the way back to Christ, and don't make it about you. Make it about Jesus, not the purchase of forgiveness from you. If you will do this, you will be the church God has created to help such hopeless people as Mel. Anything less than this will be a hindrance to his healing and will become your problem as well.
Brothers, let's stand strong and gain wisdom from this. We all need to recognize it can happen to any of us at any time, especially if we allow our guards to be lowered and are foolish enough to be casual about our walk with Christ. Casual Christianity leads to a casualty. Never forget this. Ask Mel.