“One of these things is not like the other,” the old song from Sesame Street goes.
But actually, that may not be the entire truth in the case of Mr. Gibson, Mr. Sheen and the nation of Japan.
They have two things in common. One, they are very much in trouble. And two, they can be saved.
Mel Gibson was in court this past week. He was facing a misdemeanor charge of battery. He was sentence to undergo a year’s worth of counseling and sixteen hours of community service.
Charlie Sheen’s life has been well-documented lately. It would seem he’s also going to be in court soon. He’s being a lawsuit against the CBS television network after being fired from his TV show.
And Japan has faced the fifth largest earthquake in the last 100 years. This earthquake resulted in a tsunami that wiped out many of the seaside communities on the eastern shore of the main island.
Until Japan’s news hit the headlines, Charlie Sheen was pretty much on the top of every news outlets’ list of stories. Mel Gibson was, for the most part, flying under everyone’s radar.
But I’ve been thinking about all three today. And I was thinking about what I could do for all three today. And that led me to thinking about what the Church could do for all three today. In fact, what the Church could do for them, the Church can – and should – do for all people. For we are all in need of help.
By “the Church” I mean the flesh-and-blood Church. I mean the men, women and children who are disciples of Jesus Christ and are the spiritual stones that make up the Church.
Mel Gibson has made his public confession of faith in Jesus Christ at the time he was making and releasing his film “The Passion of the Christ.” But after that, he took a turn for the worse down a wild path. The Church needs to reach out to him and help him find his way back to the peace that passes all understanding – Jesus Christ. I’m not saying I think he gave up his faith. But Mel Gibson has had some problems and challenges and faces more consequences in the future.
Let’s not turn our back on him. He is a Christian. Jesus loves him. Jesus died and rose to save Mel Gibson from his sins (just has He has for all of us).
Then there’s Charlie Sheen. I’ve never heard him make a public confession of faith in Christ. What I have heard him say this past week makes me believe that he does not believe in Jesus as his savior. But the Church can’t give up on him, either. It is clear, to me at least, that Charlie Sheen is a lost soul desperately trying to find peace and love. As a Christian, I have the answer for him. Like many others, I’m tempted sometimes to just write him off as a lost cause. So many have written him off. And so many are watching him and waiting for him to finally destroy himself. But God has spoken. He says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV). God wants Charlie Sheen to know the peace and love that only can be found in Him. And it is our duty to share the Gospel with Charlie Sheen – before it’s too late.
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (James 2:15-16 ESV)
Now is the time to bring the Gospel to the people of Japan like never before. Good people are there now who have laid the groundwork for the rest of the Church. Pastors, teachers, and missionaries are on the scene right now. Let us support them. Let us join them in bringing the peace that passes all understanding to people whose lives have been literally washed away.
The Church is here for such a time as this. To reach out to these and all others like them. We have a tremendous and powerful message for the Mel Gibsons, Charlie Sheens, and Japans of the world. Now is not the time to sit back and watch from the sidelines or the comfort of our living rooms. We have to get in the game, using the power of the Gospel to reach the world.