Summary: Dave tals about you don’t have to deal with your brokenness before God will love you. God knows your brokenness, and has loved you all along.
Wildwind Community Church
August 13, 2006
I want to talk to you this morning about Mel Gibson. I do not want to discuss my favorite movie, double Oscar-award-winning Braveheart, today. I do not want to discuss Mel’s The Passion of the Christ, or his upcoming movie Apocalypto. I do not want to discuss Mel’s money with you, or the fact that Mel was People Magazine’s first Sexiest Man Alive. I’m not interested in Mad Max, or the fact that Mel is from Australia, or his fairly mediocre attempt at comedy in the movie What Women Want (I realize most women will disagree with this assessment of the film), or the horrendous turn with Goldie Hawn in Bird on a Wire. I’m not even interested this morning in talking to you about Mel’s apparently not so alter-ego in the Lethal Weapon movies, the unstable but lovable Martin Riggs. I don’t want to talk to you today about Gibson’s voice work in Chicken Run, or his incredible role in The Patriot, or his performance in my favorite war movie, We Were Soldiers. I’m not interested in talking to you about any of his other film roles, such as his uncredited role as the bearded mechanic in 1980’s Chain Reaction, the title character in the 1979 film Tim, Gene Ryack in 1990’s Air America, Jerry Fletcher in Conspiracy Theory, Bret Maverick Jr. in 1994’s Maverick, Tom Garvey in 1984’s The River, Rev. Graham Hess in 2002’s Signs, Justin McLeod in the 1993 film The Man Without a Face, Captain Daniel McCormack in 1992’s Forever Young, or Tom Mullen in the 1996 film Ransom. I don’t want to talk about his AFI awards for Tim and Gallipoli. I don’t want to talk about his three Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Actor in Ransom, Conspiracy Theory, and The Patriot, or his Broadcast Film Critics Association and Golden Globe awards for best director for Braveheart, or his Grand Prix award for The Passion of the Christ or his Hollywood Film Festival award for producer of the year for The Passion of the Christ, or his MTV movie award for Best Action Sequence for Lethal Weapon 3.
I’m not going to talk to you about any of these things today, because at this moment, in regard to Mel Gibson, only one thing matters. He screwed up. All that matters, all that’s playing in the papers today about Mel Gibson is that he got drunk, drove way too fast, and made some awful remarks to his arresting officer. Mel’s auspicious career in Hollywood is of little consequence right now. When we’re on the bottom, it doesn’t matter how much time we’ve spent at the top.
I have been thinking a lot about Mel Gibson, as Mel was arrested on July 28 – my birthday. I’m fascinated with the story because – well, because I think Mel Gibson is a lot like me. I think he’s a lot like you. And you know what? I think he’s a lot like most of those people who are threatening to boycott all his future projects and calling him names and passing judgment on him. (Incidentally, many who are doing this love to characterize the church as the ultimate place of condemnation and judgmentalism.) Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to defend what Mel did or said in any way. Mel hasn’t defended his words and actions, and I’m certainly not about to. It’s not about defending him, it’s about seeing ourselves in the fallenness, in the brokenness, of other people.
Mel Gibson has a long history in Hollywood with some stellar – and some not-so-stellar – accomplishments under his belt. He hasn’t always hit every ball out of the park, have you? He has succeeded and failed in his life, haven’t you? He has struggled with his demons and has been successful at times and unsuccessful at other times. Haven’t you? He finds that despite his best efforts, he has some demons that continue to lurk around the edges of his life – demons that, if he allows them, will steal his soul and maybe even take his life if he’s not diligent. Do you have that in your life? Do you have things in your life that, if you aren’t careful, will devour you? Things that will dissolve your marriage, or land you in prison, or destroy your reputation, or steal your joy, or hurt your children, or pollute your mind, or end your career, or maybe even take your life? Do you find that life sometimes seems to be a balancing act between all that is glorious and good in you, and all that is wretched and wrong? Have you found, like Mel Gibson, that your greatest successes have unfortunately not erected an impenetrable barrier in your life against your greatest failures? Have you discovered the most basic truth of your life, which is that you can never get too far from your own fallenness?