Preparing for the release of his new film, Cold Pursuit, Liam Neeson told an interviewer of a time that he felt rage in his heart after a friend of his was raped. In the interview Neeson said, nearly 40 years ago, he was so angry, that after hearing the rapist was a black man, he walked around the street with a club, looking forwany black man to kill. “It really shocked me, he said, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help, I went to a priest… I had two really good friends that I talked to. And believe it or not, power walking, to get rid of this.”
Soon after his revelation many have responded to Neeson calling for boycott, calling him a racist and even wanting him digitally removed from an upcoming movie. Neeson’s response to the incident, he acknowledged in the interview was wrong, and are not satisfied with his response.
I actually found something remarkably profound about his honesty, the reality of change in a persons life and the need for greater confession for sins of the heart. People generally will acknowledge or confess sins that are public and known - if there is irrefutable video evidence of a crime or an act of violence, it would take great delusion & self deception refuse to admit it. But how many of us have committed sins in our heart, in our minds, things no one will ever see - how many of us will confess that to God much less anyone who actually knows us.
Neeson himself recognized the horror of his heart and actions 40 years ago - he was appalled by his heart then and now. But how often are we similarly appalled by the anger, violence, wrath or hatred in our hearts. How often do we confess what we are feeling or thinking - to others - so that there is both real confession and real accountability.
As followers of Jesus, we of all people should have an awareness of the wickedness that are hearts are capable of. We of all people should be able to have real self reflection about not just what we do, but say, think and feel. And we should have the confidence in Christ to be able to speak to others openly and honestly about what we feel, the sinfulness of our attitudes, our need for the healing power of Jesus and the accountability of others to help keep us from falling into that slippery slope again in the future.
I don’t know Neeson’s heart - he seemed since in the inappropriateness of his anger years ago. But I do not know the wickedness of my own heart - what I have thought, dreamed or desired would be appalling to Rolling Stone or anyone else who could peer into my soul. In fact, the one who does see into my inner parts, knows the depth of my sin - yet this is what makes the salvation through Jesus Christ all the more amazing - his grace - knowing fully well my depravity - extended to me - while I was yet as sinner Christ died for me and for us.
Don’t be deceived friends - what Liam Neeson admitted - is no doubt true of you - you may have thought or done worse - no one else may know your true intentions -but God does - so cling to him, trust in his grace, and confess honestly - he is faithful and just to forgive.
Liam Neeson appeared on Good Morning America Tuesday to discuss his controversial statements about a racist revenge fantasy he harbored decades ago after a friend of his was raped. “I’m not a racist,” Neeson told GMA‘s Robin Roberts. “This was nearly 40 years ago.”
Neeson retold the story, which first appeared in an interview with The Independent after a journalist asked him how he tapped into roles centered around revenge (as in his upcoming film, Cold Pursuit). According to Neeson, after he learned that his friend’s attacker was black, he spent several nights walking around predominately black areas with a heavy stick, looking for conflict so that he could fight, and possibly kill.
On GMA, Neeson spoke about the moment he finally realized what he was doing, saying, “It really shocked me, this primal urge I had. It shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help, I went to a priest… I had two really good friends that I talked to. And believe it or not, power walking, to get rid of this.”
Roberts pressed Neeson about the backlash to his Independent interview, noting one criticism in particular: that the actor apparently didn’t ask his friend for any other physical details about her attacker besides his race. Neeson clarified that he did ask about other physical attributes, and maintained that his reaction would’ve been the same had she been raped by anyone else.