Greetings, Mr. Sheen.
You don’t know me, and you probably have never heard of our blog site here, but if I could have a few minutes of your time, I’d appreciate it.
I have followed your career—on and off—since your early days working with Oliver Stone. I have a vivid memory of being deeply moved by the depiction of the father/son relationship in “Wall Street,” in which you shared scenes with your real-life dad, Martin Sheen. God blessed you with a talent to act and inhabit certain characters convincingly. You moved easily between drama (“Wall Street,””Platoon”) and comedy (the “Hot Shots” movies), and you excelled in both genres. I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of your underrated “Terminal Velocity,” and I wish they made more action movies with the same silly and sardonic tone as that one.
On the other hand, I haven’t closely followed your career since you began work on the successful sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” nor have I followed the (mostly) negative press you have received since you left that show. I typically avoid gossip programming like “TMZ” and the tabloids; I find them to be a waste of time and the Bible—which I (imperfectly) follow due to my heard being changed by Jesus Christ—informs me that gossip itself is a sin. I say all of that to say—basically—I’m (mostly) ignorant of your private life aside from the occasional times I came across an article on Associated Press.
Like many in America, I read the news story of your public announcement that you are HIV-positive. Let me emphasize how sorry I am that you have contracted this disease. I’m also sorry that—according to what you said in the interview—various people have extorted money from you and have taken advantage of your desire to keep this health condition a secret. What these people did was criminal and sinful. The Bible commands us to not extort money from people (Luke 3:14), and I can assure you that those who robbed you will—if they don’t repent—face God on Judgment Day for this sin (as well as whatever other sins they have committed). This text from the Bible makes that clear:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV)
You were treated unjustly by those who extorted money from you. You told Matt Lauer that you were not going to pay “hush money” to anybody anymore and, indeed—in light of today’s announcement—it would be pointless to do so. However, those who took from you in the past will still have to answer to God for their sin.
Did you notice, also, the other sins listed above? The “sexually immoral,” which means those of us who have rebelled against God’s plan for sexuality (which is one man and one woman in covenant marriage) by engaging in premarital sexual activity and looking at pornography.
The “idolater,” which is anybody who worships anybody and anything other than the one true God as revealed in Scripture.
The “adulterer,” which is anybody who is unfaithful to their covenantal vows—most obviously the one made in marriage.
The “men who practice homosexuality,” which is not anybody who has ever struggled with a same-sex attraction but rather those who act upon and actively engage in homosexual activity.
The “thieves” are those who have taken what doesn’t belong to them, whether it’s money, possessions, land, or—yes—even copyright infringment.
The “greedy” would be those who are only interested in obtaining more and more; your movie “Wall Street” effectively exposed the reality of greed in our society (remember the “how much is enough” mini-speech your character gave to Gordon Gekko?).
The “drunkards” would not be people who consume alcohol or take painkillers from time to time, but those who get intoxicated as opposed to being filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
The “revilers” would be those of us who have hatred and bitterness toward other people and—because of that—revile their names, whether publicly or privately.
The “swindlers” would be those like who have extorted money from you by threatening to go public with your health condition.
You see, HIV is a physical condition that will affect your body. However, you and I and all of us on this planet have an even bigger condition to consider: our spiritual condition. Sickness is bad. Disease is bad. That being said, listen to what Jesus said about what—or who—we should really be fearing:
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (Luke 12:4-5 ESV)
HIV kills the body. Cancer kills the body. Many different diseases can kill the body. However, the breakdown of our bodies isn’t the worst thing that can happen to us. Jesus makes it clear that the worse thing that can happen to us is something that can’t happen to our bodies, but to our souls.
Jesus is teaching us that we ought to fear God above all else. Mr. Sheen, do you fear God? Jesus tells us why we ought to fear God: it is because not only can God kill, but after He has killed, He has “authority to cast into hell.”
What is hell? According to the Bible, hell is a place of eternal fire, torment and destruction (Matthew 25:41; 2 Thess 1:9). It is a place reserved for the worst of the worst and—here’s the bad part—we’re all the worst of the worst. We have lied. We have stolen. We have been greedy. We have worshipped other gods. We have harbored hatred and bitterness in our hearts toward others. We all deserve to be cast into hell because we have broken the laws of the One who has the authority to send us there.
You see, you are a great actor who has been blessed by God with your abilities. Evolution can’t account for your talent; it was gifted to you by God. You—like the rest of us—were made in the image of God and our purpose on this earth is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. However, we have all rebelled against our purpose. We have all decided to reject God and His plan and purpose and have decided to go our own way (Isa 53:6), and we know this because we have violated His Law. Simply put, we deserve hell because we all have the same verdict attached to us: GUILTY.
The good news of the Bible is that God saves sinners. God—in His infinite mercy, grace, wisdom, love and power—humbled Himself to become a man and walked this earth as Jesus Christ about 2,000 years ago.
For the 33 years He walked on this earth, Jesus Christ did what you and I could never hope to do—lived a perfect life. You’ve heard the phrase “nobody’s perfect?” Well, that’s not exactly true. Jesus was perfect in His short time on this earth. He was so perfect that His perfect light revealed the sinful condition of man, and some men—upon seeing their Messiah—chose to have Him killed.
Jesus was executed as a criminal upon a Roman cross. He was brutally killed and His blood was shed. The cross was a place of grotesque ugliness to anyone who was there to witness it. However, there was an abundance of beauty in it as well; in dying upon the cross, Jesus also suffered spiritually by bearing the full weight and payment for the sins of His people in His own body.
That’s right: Jesus paid in full the sin debt of His people when He gave up His life on that cross.
Three days later, Jesus rose again from the dead, thereby showing everyone that His sacrifice was fully and completely sufficient. In rising from the dead, Jesus Himself did another thing that you can I could never do: He defeated death! Jesus put death itself to death when He rose again, and it is because of Jesus’ resurrection that you and I don’t have to fear death. Sickness can still take our bodies, but death no longer rules and reigns over our souls. Isn’t that great news?
Who are these people for whom Jesus died and took their sin debt completely away? They are the people who repent of their sins and who place their faith upon Jesus Christ and upon Him alone for their eternal salvation.
And you know what? “Eternal” isn’t some unknown point in the future: “eternal” includes right now. Sin has affected our bodies, our minds, our souls, and—in point of fact—this entire planet. Jesus Christ has come to put away sin and death completely and He succeeded in doing so, which means He alone is the only One truly worthy of our praise, honor, and worship.
So, that is my message to you, Mr. Sheen. Repent of your sins. Modern medicine has given you a grave diagnosis, but God’s diagnosis is the one that should truly concern you. You—like the rest of us—are guilty of breaking His Law. You—like the rest of us—deserve to be cast into hell. Yet you can be saved from God’s wrath by turning from your sin and trusting in His Son who paid for sin and who defeated death.
I want to see you perform again, Mr. Sheen. I want to see you healthy. Most of all, though, I want to see you giving glory to the magnificent, holy, awesome, gracious, and all-powerful God of the universe.
Please consider what I have said here and please consider it today while God has given you time.
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