Matthew Newton is at it again – bashing women and beating up workers. The Underbelly star is proving that life does imitate art. CCTV footage now shows that he is in denial and a liar. Despite his behaviour, there seems to be no end of people who are lining up to defend him. Few of us are surprised when his lawyer Chris Murphy uses the mental illness defence. “Can’t cure mental illness with ‘You stop that!’. Bipolar sufferers need patience & support. Matthew Newton has mine. Treatment continues.” he tweets. But it seems that many Australians have become so star-stuck that we are prepared to defend the indefensible. “The problem is not Matthew Newton, the problem is the debilitating disease that he suffers from” – or so the line of argument goes. Why do some people advocate such twisted logic?
Avoiding responsibility is a classic response. If we are not responsible for our sins, then God would be unjust in sending us to hell. If we can blame mental illness (or other external disease), then we can not only deny responsibility, but also blame others or even God for our behaviour. If anyone asks us to be responsible, then we can accuse them of being ‘un-compassionate’ or ‘un-Christian’. I have great compassion for those who genuinely struggle with mental illness. However, the majority of those with mental illnesses do not bash taxi drivers, beat up their girlfriends, or punch hotel workers. The genuine supporters of mental illness suffers should be outraged and leading the exposure of celebrities who hide behind mental illness as an excuse. The genuine battlers of mental illness are heros. Matthew Newton is a coward who is hiding behind their brave and daily fights.
The truth is that we all have a sinful nature. The sad truth is that many celebrities habitually indulge the sinful nature to increasingly depraved degrees. We can expect more ‘moral messangers’ to be shot as the ‘excuse industry’ responds to our reprobate society. In days gone, society would have drawn and quartered such offenders. My view is that if Rachel Taylor or Brook Satchwell was my daughter, then as a father, my moral and righteous duty would be to introduce Matthew Newton to a baseball bat. I see such a response as both
1. a compasionate defence of women, and
2. a just response of a righteous society to serial beast.
A Just Response?
I expect that some people will say ‘what about repetentence? and ‘what about not repaying an eye for an eye? I fully believe that Matthew Newton is not beyond God’s grace, and repentance could be possible. Those of death row can still be saved by God. Repentance does not negate the consequences of their sin. God’s command in Genesis 9:6 still applies where he says, “Whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed?” A good wallop may just be what Matthew Newton needs for him to realise what he has done to others. The baseball bat may be the tool that God uses to bring about repentance – because let’s face it – the status quo has failed.
Ultimately, I surmise that it is bad parenting that has created the degree of rebellion and bad behaviour in society today. Bert and Patti Newton’s softly softly rationalisation of his behaviour is the biggest offence in this whole saga. I am by no means blaming parents for the behaviour of their adult children. Adult children are accountable. But good parents don’t sweep their little angel’s behaviours under the carpet. Bert and Patti’s public statements provide a sorry insight into how they trained up their Matthew. (Proverbs 22:6) A truly godly response would have been for them to show compassion for Matthew’s victims and to commit to justice being done.
If society was righteous we would be seeing a unanimous response to badly behaving celebrities. The fact that sin in celebrities lives and our lives is tolerated so much, shows just how unrighteous we have become. We are not going to see a righteous society this side of heaven. While we should still stand up and call for justice for Matthew Newton’s victim’s, we must also long the Jesus to return so that he can bring ultimate justice and righteouness to all.