Saturday, August 05, 2006

A path for healing

I read with interest this morning that actor-director Mel Gibson has issued an apology to Jews for anti-Semitic remarks made to an officer who arrested him for suspicion of drunk driving.

In his apology, Mr Gibson said his actions Saturday went against his Roman Catholic beliefs.

"The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life," he said. "Every human being is God's child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith."

Of further interest to me was the comment that Mr Gibson said he wants to meet with Jewish leaders to make amends.

"I'm not just asking for forgiveness," he said. "I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing."

In his statement Mr Gibson referred to "the consequences hurtful words can have" and said:

"I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery. Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed."

I don't want to comment on MR Gibson's Catholic beliefs or the incident which led to his outburst. However, I personally think it is very commendable that he decided to not simply issue an apology, but to take it a step further in trying to understand why he came out with "those vicious words" in the first place and to seek healing, both within himself and with the people he has offended.

Personally I feel there is a good example and a lesson there for us. If we offend someone it's often not good enough to simply apologise. We also need to follow the path for healing.

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