I’m going to step out on a limb here and confess that I’m hoping Christian spokespeople respond better than most of what I’ve read so far. Truthfully, I’m somewhat disheartened. Maybe that’s because I just heard a sermon (based on Les Miserables and the Prodigal Son parable) on extending grace to those whose lives are wretched. Maybe it’s because (as I discovered when it came to Isaac Hayes) I’m somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to my approach to media figures (which was greatly influenced by the folks at MasterMedia International). Maybe it’s because I personally know people who are recovering alcoholics. Or maybe it’s because I know I need a lot of grace of my own. Whatever the case, I’m hoping a measure of grace is extended by Christian voices and spokespeople rather than the cynical and harsh mish-mash I’ve been reading.
Let me be clear: I’m not saying Gibson deserves grace because of he’s a movie star or filmmaker who's made a blockbuster Christian film. He’s made and directed some good films, but I definitely don’t like all of them—and just because he made The Passion doesn’t give him carte blanche sainthood. I’m not even saying Gibson deserves grace because he’s a self-confessed Christian. I don’t agree with many of his lifestyle choices and I definitely don’t like his theology.
What I’m saying is this: Gibson deserves grace because of who we are.
Bottom line, we followers of Jesus shouldn’t treat Gibson any different from any other human being when they do something despicable or hurt others. He should be treated like any other person sick with or recovering from alcoholism or some other addiction. Gibson should receive the same response as anyone else when they recognize they have a problem, express regret and sorrow and take responsibility for it.
In other words, Gibson deserves to be treated the same way we treat each other (or at least, the way Jesus calls us to treat each other). We love, extend grace, and forgive because that is what God did and does for us. Because that is who God is—and his Spirit lives in us. Because that is the way you live in the Kingdom. Because that is who we are.
Maybe we can look at our gut response to Gibson as an opportunity to ask: What does it tell us about how we respond to those around us (family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.) when they miss the mark—sometimes in awful, painful ways? Food for thought.
(Image: Oi Jimmy! at flickr.com)