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.