The other day I read an article from the Huffington Post about Robert Downey Jr. asking Hollywood to forgive Mel Gibson. He talked about the downward spiral he was in a few years ago and how Mel was one of the few willing to lend a hand. Here’s a portion of his plea.
I couldn’t get hired and he cast me. He said if I accepted responsibility – he called it hugging the cactus – long enough my life would take meaning and if he helped me I would help the next guy.
He finished up by asking everyone, unless they were without sin, to forgive Mel and let him work.
It was a good speech. Anytime I hear the “unless you’re without sin” line, it makes me stop and think because yeah, I’m not perfect. I try to own my mistakes and learn and grow from them. AKA accepting responsibility. That’s where I have a hard time forgiving Mel.
The man had some dark thoughts he verbalized about other races and his wife. And whether you consider it a stretch, some of it could’ve been chalked up to heat of the moment stuff. We’re all guilty of that, but not once did I ever get that he felt bad. He even got annoyed with an interviewer for asking about it before Edge of Darkness came out. It was his first movie since the controversy. Did he really expect the topic not to come up?
But I only know Mel from his movies. I only know what I saw in the news. Imagine my surprise when The Downfall of Terrell Mims happened the exact moment I pondered forgiveness.
Terrell and I weren’t great friends, but we had brief conversations on Twitter and I commented on his blog once. We were also writers working on getting our careers going. I suppose within the MyWANA crowd, we knew of each other’s existence. Other people, like David Walker and Kristen Lamb, knew him better.
From what I read on David’s blog, once news of his deceit started to spread, he was given numerous chances to “hug the cactus”. He, instead, stoked the fire with more lies.
David also said what a personable guy Terrell was when they met, which to me is a real shame. He obviously had a talent for getting people to like him, which he used in the worst way possible. Imagine if he had worked on improving his writing. He might’ve been an awesome blogger. An awesome novelist.
But he made all the wrong choices and the only thing he seemed to care about was that he was caught.
That I can’t forgive.
I doubt we’ll ever hear from him again, but I’d like to think if we did and heard his side, (the why and some remorse) I could say, “Okay. I get why you betrayed everyone. I’m sorry it happened and even more sorry that you’ll probably never be trusted in these parts. But maybe you can take the lesson you’ve learned and turn it into something good somewhere else.”
That’s my perfect world scenario, you know, The Land of Make Believe. There are some offenses that people can’t or don’t want to forgive.
Is it too late for Terrell to get forgiveness? Is there anything you’d never forgive? Have you ever looked at forgiveness as therapeutic for the victim?