I’ve been around the block enough to know not to judge a man by his reaction to crazy-making family dysfunction. Yeah, there’s a thin line between love and hate; I get it. Some of the best men I know lost their minds they day the lost their children. Or when they felt the knife in the back from the woman they loved. Literally, they lost their minds. I’ve seen it happen.
I hear that pain in your jacked up phone calls.
Just so I can put my cards on the table… I’ll say this right up front: there’s no justification, EVER, for intimidating, threatening, scaring, or doing violence to another person — especially man to woman. Powerful emotion, yes. Threats of violence? Not cool under any circumstance. To say that if your ex- didn’t pick up the phone you would wind up on her doorstep is totally out of bounds, a veiled threat that you shouldn’t have made, no matter how you felt, or how altered your state was.
I’m just being honest with my opinion.
At the same time, I think you were set up. You were caught on tape, and the woman catching you on tape played to the tape. She made sure she pressed your buttons and got it all recorded and stayed totally cool and above reproach… on tape. That’s my opinion — I may be wrong, but you’ve been had.
It’s still no excuse, though.
In you, I hear the roar of a wounded lion. A near fatal knife to the heart. The ferocity, the anger, the panting… the sound of a man on the brink of destruction.
It doesn’t have to play out that way.
I also hear the bellow of a chemically unrestrained (alcohol?) madman. That’s what they’re saying on the radio. I hope they’re wrong, but I suspect not. Your dark side is scary big. I imagine it scares you on some days.
God is bigger than it.
Mel, you brought Jesus to the masses, so can I bring Jesus to you?
- When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:10, 11, NKJV).
- When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mark 2:17, NKJV).
- Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. (Luke 8:35, NKJV).
I love to imagine you, sitting next to me, clothed, at the feet of Jesus, and both of us in our right mind. A good picture.
And it can happen. I believe that. Your quest for Jesus has been tumultuous, intense, and public. Your sins are on the record for us all to see. You live in a fishbowl — as a pastor, I get that. You can’t take a step without being scrutinized, analyzed, judged, and misjudged. I can only begin to imagine how intense that is for you. Your life with Jesus makes me think of Peter. Loyal to a fault one day, denying him three times the next.
As a flawed brother in Christ, whose failings have not been splashed across the tabloids, can I invite you deeper into a life-giving connection with Jesus?
Can I invite you to watch your own movie again, only this time to see it from a new perspective? From the perspective of his work for you, rather than your work for him? You alone know the price of making that movie. He alone knows the price of living that crucifixion. The price tags are worlds apart. Can you revisit Calvary’s Cross in your heart and mind, and go back to the basics of your faith?
Can I invite you into a church — a community of wounded warriors just like you, stumbling arm in arm toward abundant life Jesus promised? You need a community of saints around you — not perfect saints, but forgiven ones, resting their hearts in the finished work of Christ.
Can I invite you into a healing community? Where you will receive prayer, and the freedom to tell your broken story as many times as you need to… and receive the support you need to face life without alcohol or drugs or violence or whatever it is you might turn to?
Mel, your life has been about performance.
It’s time to change that. Get off the stage. Let Jesus’ performance count for you. Let him take center stage. Rest in Jesus. Quit performing, and just BE. Disappear. Quit serving, striving, acting… doing. Sit at his feet, and watch him act. You have Martha’s heart and you need Mary’s. Bring that anguish we hear in your phone calls to the foot of the cross, and find wholeness and reconciliation there.
You don’t have to be a star to be precious to God.
Hollywood’s approval isn’t heaven’s approval. In Christ, you have heaven’s approval, and that’s enough.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18, NKJV).
Mel, brother to brother… you need help. That’s not a judgment against you. It’s a reality check. You’re in so deep, you’re not gonna pull out on your own. Welcome to the human race. There’s nothing you face that ‘s insurmountable. That life you’ve always longed for — that clean, free, satisfied, abundant life — is right there. Jesus makes it possible. One day at a time… back to Jesus, back to the Bible, back to prayer, faith, and the brotherhood of fellow-Christians.
I don’t condemn you. I don’t like what you did, but I get it. I hope you make it. I hope you go through this fire and come out clean. I hope you find the love and peace you crave. You’ve been giving out for so long; I hope you get out of the limelight and spend your days receiving from Jesus, sinking deep roots into him, and filling up on his grace. Grow mature in Christ. I’m praying for you. I’m rooting for you. I’m believing God’s best for you. It sounds ridiculous for me to say it, but I’m here for you, if there’s anything I can do… or offer… or say… or be… I’m here.
Your Imperfect Brother,