Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Changing One's True Colors

I've been reading with some interest the current saga revolving around Mel Gibson's little drunken tirade. The Cliff's Notes is this: he was pulled over for drunk driving and started yelling slurs about Jews. For good measure, he threw in a sexist comment toward a female officer. Since then, the boards have lit up with theories about how liquor lowered Gibson's inhibitions and revealed his true colors, which might be true, to less logically sound comments like, 'This proves that Passion of the Christ was anti-Semitic.'

Gibson offered one apology, partially to say 'That wasn't the real me.' Again, I can't totally disagree with alcohol lowering your filter. The boards lit up again to say that very thing. Then Gibson offered a second apology, this time expressing a desire to meet with leaders of the Jewish community and face 'the problems that he has.' This sounds closer to admitting that maybe his string of epithets was perhaps really him, and not just the booze.

At this point, I'm willing to give Gibson the benefit of the doubt. One can't excuse what he said. Period. But now he's taken steps beyond apology...if he truly follows through with his expressed desire to interact with the Jewish community and face what he needs to face in terms of prejudice and the hurt he's caused, then that is no less than the road to repentance. I stand with my Christian brothers and sisters (as well as my Jewish ones) in condemning what he said, but also encouraging what he means to do about it. There's no sense in continuing to dog the guy if he's serious about fixing things.

If Christians who talk about grace and repentance and forgiveness and reconciliation can't see those elements potentially at work here, then there are some things that we need to repent of ourselves.

I hope Gibson follows through with this. And I hope he's truly changed by it.