In the 2009’s Tyson, a documentary about the life of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Tyson is remembered for being one of the most feared boxers of all time, not just for his knockout punch—he knocked out 44 of his 50 losing opponents—but also for his anger, his unpredictability, and the impression that he was a powerful man wildly out of control. In 1992, he was convicted of raping Desiree Washington, for which he spent three years prison. In the movie he admits abusing women. In a fight against Evander Holyfield he bit off part of Holyfield’s ear. In the film Tyson admits that he has at times been on the brink of insanity.

The director of the documentary, 64-year-old James Toback, confesses to having something in common with Holyfield. He too has walked the edge. He almost died once from an LSD trip that lasted eight days. Toback says, “[Tyson] turns out to be as complicated and crazy as I am.”

Something that Toback said caught my attention. His statement raises one of the most important questions that can be asked about human nature. Talking about Tyson, Toback said, “Mike is a fundamentally very, very good human being. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t done bad things.” The question is, what is the relationship between our deeds and our nature? Toback suggests that who Tyson is is not directly related to what Tyson does. Can someone who is fundamentally good do bad things—and still be good? Tyson himself, when talking about the Holyfield fight, says, “I’m a good person, but I went insane.” The questions multiply: Do our bad deeds show that we are not fundamentally good? Do our bad deeds change our nature? Do we remain good after we do bad, or were we ever good in the first place? After we do bad, does the passing of time or the experience of punishment remove the bad we have done or change our nature so that we are no longer bad? How many bad things must a person do before they become bad? At one point in the movie, the 42-year-old Tyson asks, “Who am I?” Again, the point of these questions is not Tyson or Toback but you and me. We may not take LSD or abuse others physically, but we all have lied; we all have hurt or failed others in one way or another. We all have been selfish. We all have contributed in some way to the injustice in our world. We all have fallen short of treating God in the way he deserves. Are we still fundamentally good? Beginning on June 2nd we will begin a new sermon series entitled, “inSanity” and we will be looking at the craziness of this world in which we live.  How do we really live or survive this world we live in.  We are going to topics like, “The Neighbors Are Nuts,” Image Management,” “FSTR,” and much more.  This series would be a great time to invite your friends, family and neighbors.  I hope to see you there.

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