I have been following Tullian Tchividjian for about 3 years now. He is a powerful pastor and author. His book, “Unfashionable” should be read by all. He has a powerful way of preaching that appeals to many including myself. Tullian has an active blog that I follow to gain insight. On March 22nd, he had an entry called the “Fruits of Grace“. I started to read the article when it diverged into a recent event in Hollywood. Now I am very grateful for what the movie industry has done in bringing fiction and non-fiction alive. I am consistently amazed at the imagination of men and women who work in the motion picture business. They have a great eye for detail and in keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.
Recently (and maybe always) the people of Hollywood have been a little less active in their profession and more active in the downward spiral of America. They tend to have a large influence on the minds of Americans in this media focused world. (Remember that this is my opinion) But I love it when I see truth being projected from those whom face is in the lights. Too many people expect the actor/actress to be same off camera and on. I expect them to be real and to show their real side. And that their “fruit” in life tells us how much or who they can coach.
Well, in the recent blog by Tullian, we see an amazing act of forgiveness and also, an expectation of forgiveness from others. Robert Downey, Jr. was given the “American Cinematheque Award, a prize given to an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion pictures”. A mouth full to say the least. Most of us know Mr. Downey,Jr from the 80-90’s and recently with the Sherlock Holmes series and the Iron Man series. He is probably considered one the top names in Hollywood right now. With receiving this award, Robert can ask anyone he chooses to present it on stage, and he choose Mel Gibson. Most of us have heard bits and pieces of Mel’s quick drop from the top.
With all this being said, here is Downey’s acceptance speech:
I asked Mel to present this award to me for a reason. Because when I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope, and he urged me to find my faith—didn’t have to be his or someone else’s—as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired so he cast me in the lead in a movie that was actually developed for him. He kept a roof over my head, and he kept food on the table. And most importantly, he said that if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoings and embraced that part of my soul that was ugly—”hugging the cactus” he calls it—he said that if I “hugged the cactus” long enough, I would become a man of some humility and my life would take on new meaning. And I did and it worked. All he asked in return was that some day I help the next guy in some small way. It’s reasonable to assume that at the time he didn’t imagine the next guy would be him. Or that some day was tonight.
Anyway, on this special occasion… I humbly ask that you join me—unless you are completely without sin (in which you picked the wrong… industry)—in forgiving my friend his trespasses, offering him the same clean slate you have me, and allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame. He’s hugged the cactus long enough. [And then they hug].
Wow! What an act in the bright lights. At complete risk of his own career, Downey gives and asks forgiveness. Someone at the bottom and someone at the top can work! What if we used this as an example of grace in our life? What if we were to give more hands up and less hands out? What if we were to truly give from ourselves and expect nothing in return? Our neighborhoods can be like this once again. It just takes you. The whole “Pay it forward” theory. My friends and mentors in the Life company believe in the motto of “making a difference”. Check it out for yourself and you will see it LIVE.
God bless, Aron
Steel the mind and Tender the heart!