Speaking to former gang members and previously incarcerated men and women, comedian Jim Carrey made an emotional speech about suffering, forgiveness, grace and…Jesus.
Homeboy Industries, a Los Angeles-based-nonprofit, offers support to men and women seeking to make positive changes and provides the hope of leaving a life of gang-involvement and incarceration behind. Reverend Gregory Boyle founded Homeboy Industries after seeing firsthand the unmet needs in the community surrounding his parish.
Last month, Carrey was invited to address program participants to offer an encouraging word. He expressed his admiration for those choosing to “leave darkness behind” and said that suffering leads to salvation. While the Bible does not refer to our own suffering as a means to salvation, passages such as Romans 5:3-5 and James 1:12 state that suffering produces hope and endurance, resulting in a steadfastness that will be rewarded for those who love God.
Carrey continued, drawing a comparison between our suffering and that of Christ. He asserted that we have two choices when going through suffering: “We either decide to go through the gate of resentment, which leads to vengeance, which leads to self-harm, which leads to harm to others. Or we go through the gate of forgiveness, which leads to grace.”
“Your being here is an indication that you’ve made that decision already,” Carrey explained. “You’ve made the decision to walk through the gate of forgiveness, to grace, just as Christ did on the cross. He suffered terribly and he was broken by it to the point of doubt and a feeling of absolute abandonment, that’s all that he ever felt.”
In the past, Carrey has articulated varying views on religion and spirituality. He was raised in the Catholic church and has always been very vocal about his relationship with God, but at times has expressed his disgust with organized religion and the church. However, his recent speech at Homeboy Industries seems to show a man returning to faith in Christ.
He concluded by saying that when the omnipresence of God is spoken about in church, it means that God is in all—that everything is divine.
“When you decide to transcend the negativity and attempt to do something positive for you and your family, you are the heart of God, you are the eyes of God. When you speak from that place you are God’s voice,” he said. “Serving the world with your work, that is the Eucharist, that is the Body of Christ.”
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