Mel Gibson's Self-Immolation

'For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.' — Romans 7:22—23

I am really heartbroken at Mel Gibson's self—immolation.  Pulled over drunk, ugly bileflowing from his mouth, slandering God's Chosen.  Sounding more like some nut in a 1937 German beer hall, his comments to the arresting officer laying blame for world wars at the feet of world Jewry are a foul pustule on his character.

His best work The Passion of the Christ was powerful and inspiring.  Critics called it anti—Semitic, citing its reliance on the one Gospel passage where the Jewish crowd accepts personal responsibility for deicide.  In my view, that criticism missed its mark, since the scene was faithful to the source material upon which it drew. It's not as if the Bible isn't full of Jews Behaving Badly. The passage is there, but to misconstrue that as a specific indictment of Jewry rather than a snapshot of mankind's rejection of God's love is to miss the message found in the whole of scripture. 

Nevertheless, it seems from this episode it is fair to suspect that Gibson is, as Christopher Hitchens puts it

'sick to his empty core with Jew—hatred.'

Self—proclaimed atheist and organized religion critic Hitchens seems to see Gibson is somehow unique.  By Christian theology, we humans are all 'sick to our empty core' with sin.  Any man who hears the voice of the Holy Spirit knows that within his bosom is a lump of wicked that he cannot master alone.  Jeremiah the prophet told us that the 'heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.'  Repentance flows from this realization, and the struggle to conform the flesh to the new spirit Christ creates will continue until one dies.

Is Gibson an anti—Semite?  Probably, but I have an equivalent if not mirror image pile of prejudices warring in my inner being, prejudices and hatreds that stink like the very pit of Hell.  It takes a great deal of discipline at times to keep that beast chained up and muzzled (a fine reason to abstain from strong drink).  Lots of prayer, lots of worship, lots of meditation on God's word.  I'm not always successful, but have the good fortune of not being famous enough for my failures to matter to the unblinking eye of the media.

Jesus was a Jew, as were most of the Apostles and the bulk of the first century Christians.  Were it not for the Jew, there would be no Faith.  Hating Jews, particularly as a Christian, is foolish and irrational bordering on the suicidal.  Scriptures teach that God protects Gentile believers, grafted onto the vine as we are.  How much more will he protect those whose claim to His love is greater still?

Given that, anti—Semitism is a particularly odious sin for the man who would serve Christ.  Odious though it is, it is for these sins and more that Christ died.  If we could control ourselves, if we could always love our God and our fellow man without fail, if we could drive away our sin on our own then His sacrifice would have been unnecessary.   But the Passion was necessary, we cannot save ourselves.  Jesus loved us more than he hated the sin that indelibly stained us and secured a path to eternal life.

Many of Gibson's predilections are alien to me but many I recognize, not the least of which is the struggle between what God is making me, and what I am naturally.  I abhor what he said, I abhor what is in his heart, but no more than I abhor what is in my own heart.  We both are utterly unable to save ourselves.  We both stand condemned already without Christ.  We both plead that it is Christ who gives righteousness, not our good works or abstinence from evil.  This is grace, even if brother Gibson is still learning grace fully.

Were I his close friend and not his distant brother, I'd tell him that his time as a public face of Christianity ought to be over, at least for now.  Public sin has its consequence, and some vessels once corrupted must be relegated to other purposes.  However, there is much that can be done out of the public eye, work that needs to be done. 

The non—believer may not understand why Gibson isn't permanently ostracized, forever a pariah, but forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration are as much a divine command as charity.  There is no sin so great save one that God cannot forgive.  Mel Gibson spoke ill of his Jewish brethren, a nasty thing, but a far cry from blaspheming the Holy Spirit, who I am confident is waiting to teach, correct and then comfort and restore the penitent believer, no matter what their sin.

Tim McNabb is a web developer in St. Louis.  His blog is on hiatus, but archives are available at the site.

'For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.' — Romans 7:22—23

I am really heartbroken at Mel Gibson's self—immolation.  Pulled over drunk, ugly bileflowing from his mouth, slandering God's Chosen.  Sounding more like some nut in a 1937 German beer hall, his comments to the arresting officer laying blame for world wars at the feet of world Jewry are a foul pustule on his character.

His best work The Passion of the Christ was powerful and inspiring.  Critics called it anti—Semitic, citing its reliance on the one Gospel passage where the Jewish crowd accepts personal responsibility for deicide.  In my view, that criticism missed its mark, since the scene was faithful to the source material upon which it drew. It's not as if the Bible isn't full of Jews Behaving Badly. The passage is there, but to misconstrue that as a specific indictment of Jewry rather than a snapshot of mankind's rejection of God's love is to miss the message found in the whole of scripture. 

Nevertheless, it seems from this episode it is fair to suspect that Gibson is, as Christopher Hitchens puts it

'sick to his empty core with Jew—hatred.'

Self—proclaimed atheist and organized religion critic Hitchens seems to see Gibson is somehow unique.  By Christian theology, we humans are all 'sick to our empty core' with sin.  Any man who hears the voice of the Holy Spirit knows that within his bosom is a lump of wicked that he cannot master alone.  Jeremiah the prophet told us that the 'heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.'  Repentance flows from this realization, and the struggle to conform the flesh to the new spirit Christ creates will continue until one dies.

Is Gibson an anti—Semite?  Probably, but I have an equivalent if not mirror image pile of prejudices warring in my inner being, prejudices and hatreds that stink like the very pit of Hell.  It takes a great deal of discipline at times to keep that beast chained up and muzzled (a fine reason to abstain from strong drink).  Lots of prayer, lots of worship, lots of meditation on God's word.  I'm not always successful, but have the good fortune of not being famous enough for my failures to matter to the unblinking eye of the media.

Jesus was a Jew, as were most of the Apostles and the bulk of the first century Christians.  Were it not for the Jew, there would be no Faith.  Hating Jews, particularly as a Christian, is foolish and irrational bordering on the suicidal.  Scriptures teach that God protects Gentile believers, grafted onto the vine as we are.  How much more will he protect those whose claim to His love is greater still?

Given that, anti—Semitism is a particularly odious sin for the man who would serve Christ.  Odious though it is, it is for these sins and more that Christ died.  If we could control ourselves, if we could always love our God and our fellow man without fail, if we could drive away our sin on our own then His sacrifice would have been unnecessary.   But the Passion was necessary, we cannot save ourselves.  Jesus loved us more than he hated the sin that indelibly stained us and secured a path to eternal life.

Many of Gibson's predilections are alien to me but many I recognize, not the least of which is the struggle between what God is making me, and what I am naturally.  I abhor what he said, I abhor what is in his heart, but no more than I abhor what is in my own heart.  We both are utterly unable to save ourselves.  We both stand condemned already without Christ.  We both plead that it is Christ who gives righteousness, not our good works or abstinence from evil.  This is grace, even if brother Gibson is still learning grace fully.

Were I his close friend and not his distant brother, I'd tell him that his time as a public face of Christianity ought to be over, at least for now.  Public sin has its consequence, and some vessels once corrupted must be relegated to other purposes.  However, there is much that can be done out of the public eye, work that needs to be done. 

The non—believer may not understand why Gibson isn't permanently ostracized, forever a pariah, but forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration are as much a divine command as charity.  There is no sin so great save one that God cannot forgive.  Mel Gibson spoke ill of his Jewish brethren, a nasty thing, but a far cry from blaspheming the Holy Spirit, who I am confident is waiting to teach, correct and then comfort and restore the penitent believer, no matter what their sin.

Tim McNabb is a web developer in St. Louis.  His blog is on hiatus, but archives are available at the site.