05 August 2006

Making Amends

There has been a story in the news this week about actor Mel Gibson making anti-Semitic remarks against Jews when he was arrested for drunk driving. I haven't been particularly following this story, except that it comes up on my browser home page every time I open it to go on the internet.

Well, this morning, the headline was "Mel Gibson Asks Jewish Community to Help Him Make Amends," so I clicked and read the story, curious to see what kind of amends would be suggested.

What was suggested were not amends at all. Demoting him to the status of a bit actor, public circumcision, and having him lead tours through Auschwitz are punishments, which only inflict a reciprocal pain. Nothing is gained by this.

Amends are an action a spirit can take to set things right, after he or she has committed a wrong. A very simple example would be if one knocked over a potted plant while walking by, amends would be to replace the plant and the pot, and make it even better than before--perhaps a larger plant or a more beautiful pot. One would find out what is needed and wanted and provide it. One would do something to help that which had been wronged be in an even better position that it was in before. And by doing these things, one's contribution in a positive direction becomes greater in effect than one's transgression. Having made amends in this way myself, and having had amends made to me in this way, I know that the true making of amends completely heals and leaves those involved even closer than before.

In my opinion, Mr. Gibson could truly make amends by using his talents to educate the public about what is good about the Jewish people, or create a public campaign to educate about predjudice. He could make an inspiring film with a Jewish theme. His amends needs to be sufficient and broad enough to heal the public pain caused by his comments.

Making amends allows the spirit to heal and grow. It's something we all can use.

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