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« Twitter Friday | Main | A prodigal returns »

April 17, 2009

A Reflection on Mel Gibson’s Divorce

Mel_gibson4 This week it was revealed that Mel Gibson’s wife, Robyn, has filed for divorce after 28 years of marriage.

Although any divorce is a tragedy, this divorce is especially disheartening. When a strong Christian family erodes to the point of breaking a vow with God, it is clear that the circumstances must be extraordinary. Gibson is not the poster-child for the Christian husband, and I’m sure his wife has been very tolerant of Gibson’s behavior. And yet he's been a light in the Hollywood darkness. Given that the typical Hollywood marriage lasts about as long as a good church service, we should pay a bit of tribute to Mr. Gibson for his successes.

Gibson’s career has been exemplary. He has acted in or directed some of the most impressive films in American history, including, of course, The Passion of the Christ. The latter he privately funded because he couldn’t get anyone to sign on. Much of his current wealth can be attributed to his courage to persevere and fund a movie about Christ, which he felt could change the world.

Gibson has flown in the face of this culture. Regardless of what people thought, especially the anti-Christians in Hollywood, he has been outspoken about his views against abortion, homosexuality, and taxpayer-funded embryonic stem cell research. He has even posed questions about the Marxist intent of the Rhodes Scholarship.  Most surprisingly for a film superstar today, he has proclaimed the primacy of Christianity.

Now for the saddening part of Gibson’s life. He has a drinking problem and bipolar disorder. In 2006 he was pulled over by police officers for drunk driving and spouted a barrage of foul and anti-Semitic language.  Since that time, he and his wife have been separated.  

What concerned me the most about the incident was not where he was and what he was doing; rather, it was where he wasn’t and whom he wasn’t with. What is a husband and father doing drinking at a bar in the middle of the night? He should have been at home with his family, instead of driving drunk through the streets of Malibu endangering an untold number of lives. 

The divorce of Robyn and Mel Gibson is sad because their faith in Christ has been a beacon of hope in an otherwise godless Hollywood. He hasn’t flipped from one religion to another like some Hollywood stars do. He hasn’t chosen some lukewarm faith that requires almost no self-sacrifice. He is a pro-life conservative Christian who is fallen like the rest of us. 

We should offer our thoughts and prayers to the Gibson family as they undergo one of the most taxing experiences any family could ever go through.

(Image © Featureflash)

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Comments

Michael Snow

"...When a strong Christian family erodes to the point of breaking a vow with God, it is clear that the circumstances must be extraordinary."

First, a 'family' doesn't break a vow, a husband or wife does.

And all these thousands of Christians who have divorced their spouses did so because of "extraordinary" circumstances?

No, I am afraid that most are because of very ordinary circumstances.

Billy Atwell

To Michael Snow:

A married couple IS a family and, the breaking of the vow effects the children in that family as well.

I didn't say thousands of Christians divorce for extraordinary circumstances, rather it is when a "strong Christian family" gets to the point of divorce, the circumstances must have been extraordinary given that they are serious about their faith. You're implying a broader statement than I intended.

Michael Snow

Here is what you wrote:"When a strong Christian family erodes to the point of breaking a vow with God..."

It was NOT the children that broke the vow with God. [And no one said that a married coulple is NOT a family and you would have to lack a pulse to not know that it effects the children.]

And my response was exactly to this wrong-headed point of yours: " ...when a 'strong Christian family' gets to the point of divorce, the circumstances must have been extraordinary given that they are serious about their faith."

"...The circumstances must have been extraordinary..." No, even for those who are 'serious about their faith' the reasons for divorce are more often the plain ordinary circumstansces of life.

And it is this mindset of Christians, making exuses for divorce [everybody has their 'extraordinary' excuse] that has been the backdrop for so many divorces in the Church, and kept Christians in the church silent about the problem..."oh, it must be extraordinary...who are we to judge..."

Diane Singer

If what I have read in the past about the Gibson's marriage is true, it would be inaccurate to describe it as a "strong Christian" anything. Gibson may say all the right religious words, but -- by his own admission -- he's been guilty of adultery (many times), alcoholism, and hateful, boorish behavior (such as his anti-Semitic rants). To me, it's a miracle that Robin has put up with Mel for so long.

As much as I loved The Passion of the Christ, and as much as I may like Mel as an actor, I see him as a person who "talks the talk" but doesn't "walk the walk." As a result, Mel brings great shame to the cause of Christ -- as I do whenever I fail to live up to my convictions. I can only pray that this is a wake-up call for Mel because one day, it won't be the movie-going public who judges him, but God.

jason taylor

That's true as far as it goes Michael; we are a bit more easy-going about divorce then we should be. On the other hand there is a time for severity and a time for mercy. Church discipline is impractical in this particular matter and therefore we should take the opposite tack and be as charitable in our own minds as possible while remembering the difference between forgiving and condoning. We cannot very easily put a ban on Mel Gibson over the internet now, can we?


Michael Snow

Jason, "a bit more easy-going"??? NO. we are simply sinful in our silence.

"Church discipline is impractical" to the worldly minded, but it is commanded by the Christ whose ressurection we just celebrated.

Jason Taylor

Michael, I am pointing out that it is impractical in this particular case not that it is generally impractical. It has nothing to do with being worldly and everything to do with the fact that he is not a member of any of our congregation's and that in any a movie star by the nature of his vocation need not fear social-stigma unfortunate though it is. Do you really wish to organize a nation-wide shunning of Mel Gibson?

Billy Atwell

I think we are all missing the main point I'm trying to make. 28 years of marriage with a bipolar alcoholic can only come about from the power of Christ. If they didn't have Christ in their life, would the marriage have survived? Without a strong sense of Christ, they would have failed like any other Hollywood marriage. I guess Philippians 4:8 summarizes what I was trying to do, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

Granted, Robyn has put up with more than most wives. If I'm wrong here, then tell me what sustained them for 28 years?

He has proclaimed Christian truth in Hollywood (pro-life, traditional family, primacy of Christianity, etc). Anyone else doing that in Hollywood? Nope!

If you read the second half of the posting, you'll see that I'm very critical of Mr. Gibson. Everyone is caught up with the third sentence, but read the fourth sentence and you'll see that I'm not glorifying him like a saint. I will say, I'd be careful how harshly we criticize a man who struggles with substance abuse and a mental illness. He's certainly fallen and dealing with some harsh demons. Rather than rub salt in his wounds, lets do what I suggest at the end of the post--pray for his family.

Rolley Haggard

The greater sin is sometimes with the one finding fault, not with the one having fault.

Jason Taylor

Sometimes Rolley. But that sort of thing is a hard call.

Rolley Haggard

I know which side I want to err on.

Jason Taylor

Perhaps it is best to err on the side of mercy then of judgement. Though to many errors are made by inordinate fear of the opposing one.

Christine Rickard

Having lived with mental illness and divorce myself, this marital breakup is heart breaking to me regardless of who is involved. Mel Gibson is an advocate in Hollywood for Christ and now is a brother who needs our prayers as Mr. Atwell calls us to do. I know I will.

Nomad

well at least most of the Gibson kids are moved out; maybe this will minimize collateral damage from the divorce

lyn christy

I am saddened for Mel and his wife not only for what was mentioned in the article but The Passion of the Christ brought conversions to the Catholic faith, whether they be from people viewing the film or from the crew, lives were changed. For the faithful, the film revealed the depth of God's love for us.

As corny as this may be, I am praying for Mel and his marriage. I know he is a good man. Who, especially in Hollywood, would give millions of their own money to make a movie about Jesus? He suffered dearly for that too. I, for one, will continue to pray for Mel, a good man.

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