How I'm Like Crazy Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson is absolutely nuts.

That’s the conclusion I came to after listening to the recorded phone calls of him acting like a monster while talking to the mother of one of his kids, Oksana Russianlastname.

If you haven’t heard the recordings, I’m not so sure you should go out of your way to find them. The Cliff Notes version is that Mel calls her every filthy name in the book, demands that he deserves sexual favors, tells her he owns her, uses racial slurs, threatens to burn down her house, tells her she deserved to be hit (there are allegations that he knocked 2 of her teeth out while she was holding their baby), and at one point screams “YOU DON’T COUNT!”

Like I said, absolutely nuts.

The whole thing made me wonder, “How does someone get to that point?” … How do you get to the point where you can tell someone that they don’t count and actually believe it?

The short answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know about all the demons in Mel’s life. The substance abuse, the media scrutiny, the years and years of being coddled and treated like a star on a royal pedestal. It’s got to be hard not to think you’re the most important thing out there when people keep treating you like you are.

But there is one thing I think I do know. I think I know where it all starts. I think this type of behavior starts when we begin to think our needs are more important than the needs of other people.

The problem I have is that this is EXACTLY the way I’m wired. In fact, I think most of us are. When we wake up, the person we’re most concerned with is ourselves. That’s the default setting.

For me, it takes effort and intentionality to think about others’ needs. If I’m not careful, I can manipulate relationships to try and get the most out of them for myself. Instead of thinking “what can I do for my buddy Tim?” or “How can I help my wife Erica have an amazing day today?”, I find myself angling for the best possible outcome for me. “How can they make my life easier and  make me feel better about me?”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not malicious or psychopathic behavior like Mel Gibson was demonstrating. But it’s still unhealthy, and it’s in direct opposition to the advice God gives us in Phillipians 2, which says “…in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

So here’s the challenge I’m giving myself, and I’m giving you too if you’re up for it. Let’s be more intentional about how we treat others. From our closest loved ones to our weakest friendships, let’s call ourselves out on the selfish tendencies we wake up with every morning, and try to get better – little by little – at truly placing other’s needs above our own.

I’m not saying we’re all on the verge of lunacy, but I do think the mindset that started Mel on the path to Wackoland is the same mindset that can creep into our lives if we’re not careful.

So let’s be careful.

The next time you see a Mel Gibson headline or hear someone talking about how looney the guy is, let it be a reminder to you to treat others well.

Other people DO count. They count MORE than you, actually. So let’s start living like that.

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  • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    While I’m not sure that others count more than me (love your neighbor AS YOURSELF and all), I totally agree that we need to be intentional about that whole loving our neighbors thing. I’m a ridiculously selfish person and if I’m not constantly on guard, the vast reaches of my ego can eclipse just about everything else.

    Great post!

    • http://fayebryant.com Faye

      Alise, I think you’re spot-on with the level playing ground, but like you, I can tend to be pretty self-serving and if I don’t think that others “count more” — it’s really easy to not treat them “as yourself,” because that teeny-weeny difference allows me leeway that I don’t need. Give me an inch, I’ve already taken the mile, ya know?

      Ouch! That was my head trying to get back out this doorway!

  • http://www.leermediagroup.com Dustin

    This is an amazing blog post! I’ve thought about how others are more important for the past couple years and how we can challenge others/Christians/church/etc to make other people in their lives more important than ourselves. I believe we can find this theme in some movies too.

  • Rodney Eason

    It’s wild that you post this, Bryan. I just finished the chapter this morning in Blue Like Jazz where Don’s pastor Rick told him to live with others so he could learn it is not about him.
    Yesterday, I rode with an old friend who had been warring with his neighbor for over 10 years. Recently, they made up and they are constantly doing selfless acts for one another.
    This theme has been coming up a lot in my life over the past months. HE gave everything for you so you can give everything for others. So easy to say, but the hardest thing to do.

  • http://www.richardtgarner.com Rick Garner

    What’s so easy to do is get caught up in the “can you believe-did he say that-his career is over-what a jerk” analysis…and forget how close we are to sounding like him.

    “Oh, but I would never treat my spouse that way! I would never talk to them that way!”

    It’s far to easy to judge Mel for his behavior, anger, and sin that to be concerned with how we ignore our spouse and children or abuse them in other subtle ways. Maybe it’s not spending time with the children which robs them of your love. Maybe it’s not helping around the house because you “have work to do” or are “too stressed out.”

    Mel’s behavior is one that should call us to pray for his anger and peace…and to look at ourselves and how we treat our own spouses or ex-spouses.

  • Cody

    WOW did I need that this morning! Thanks for reminding me that lunacy is closer than I think :) I really do appreciate the honesty and the reality check that we all need. It is the simple commands that Jesus said that all to often get overlooked in search for the deep truths, but it is simple truths that make or break us. Thanks for the words!

  • http://www.jeannedamoff.com Jeanne Damoff

    Well said and convicting. I’ve been thinking about intentionality lately–even blogged about it–but you just upped the ante.

    Thanks.

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  • http://testingstuf.wordpress.com/ Kim

    This is a good reminder to check ourselves. Beautiful things come of us being intentional with our caring for others.

  • Staci

    So true. I think this is something that we’ll never have down perfectly–I know I won’t. But I will continue to work on it!

  • http://fayebryant.com Faye

    Dang. Yeah.

  • http://callapidderdays.com Katrina @ Callapidder Days

    Good stuff. My husband and I were just talking about “What in the world has happened to Mel Gibson and how did he go so crazy?” But yeah, in another conversation, I was lamenting my own stubborn selfishness. You connected the dots well.

    My favorite part of your post: “…let’s call ourselves out on the selfish tendencies we wake up with every morning, and try to get better – little by little – at truly placing other’s needs above our own.”

    Amen.

  • http://www.howtohospitality.com Becky Miller

    Thanks for this post.

    I was at a pro-life youth camp last week, and we had a bunch of quotes up on the wall, including a great pro-children quote by Mel. We took it down after the news story broke and ended up poking fun at him in our “Weekend Update” skit.

    But I realize I am capable of that kind of behavior if I leave my sinful tendencies unchecked.

  • http://gfmorris.net/ Geof F. Morris

    You can go too far in the other direction, being too selfless, that it becomes an issue. You do need to take care of yourself. Would this be an issue if we all lived selflessly? No, because others would be focused on meeting our needs.

    Of course, this is the Prisoner’s Dilemma recast in terms of human depravity.

  • http://sarcasticxtian.com Scott Smith

    Great post Bryan, and a good reminder! Thanks!

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  • http://roybowenblog.com Roy

    Great post Bryan! I have the same problem too.

    But I think that was one of the greatest lessons that Jesus taught his disciple’s – when he washed their feet (a job normally done by the lowest ranking person in the room). It must have blown their minds when they saw how much He cared about them, to do something so dirty and unpleasant for someone else (and He was the Son of God!).

    I’m up for the challenge – but don’t expect me to start washing everyone’s feet. Baby steps… :)

  • http://tothetuneoftim.blogspot.com Tim M

    Excellent post, Bryan. I was just having a conversation with my near 4-year-old daughter about when she screams at us or when we yell at her, and how we both need to use our words and voices more kindly. In the end, we are both being selfish, yet I’m the one who needs to lay it down so much more. She is still learning, and will never fully learn if I can’t lay my own selfish reactions down.

  • http://www.bookhookedblog.com Julie G

    I really enjoyed this post. I’ve read so many “Mel sucks” posts and, however true that may be, it’s a pleasure and a great reminder to take every opportunity to examine myself.

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