Jim Carrey recently offered hope to a room full of formerly incarcerated people and reminded them that, like Jesus Christ, they chose to "walk through the gate of forgiveness to grace."
"I believe that this room is filled with God," the popular actor and comedian began a speech delivered at Homeboy Industries, a Los Angeles-based organization that provides help to formerly incarcerated people and those who've been involved in gangs.
"You are heroes to me, and I admire you," he continued. "When you stepped through these doors, you decided to be a part of this family. You've made a decision to transcend and to leave darkness behind, and it takes a champion to make that decision."
Carrey, who has been open about his battles with depression, told those gathered he's had "challenges" himself over the past few years.
"Ultimately, I believe that suffering leads to salvation," he said. "In fact, it's the only way...that we have to, somehow, accept, not deny, but feel our suffering and feel our losses. And then, we make one of two decisions. 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."
The "Dumb and Dumber" actor told attendees that "your being here is an indication that you've made that decision already."
"You've made the decision to walk through the gate of forgiveness to grace," he said. "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 absolutely abandonment, which all of you have felt. Then there was a decision to be made. And the decision was to look upon the people who were causing that suffering with compassion and with forgiveness, and that's what opens the gates of heaven for all of us. I wish that for all of you. I wish that for myself."
Homeboy Industries is run by Father Gregory Boyle, who introduced Carrey and referred to him as a "friend."
On its website, the organization says it "provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community."
According to Beliefnet.com, Carrey was raised Catholic before turning to Presbyterianism later in life. However, he has also criticized organized religion and practices "transcendental meditation", a meditation technique practiced twice a day.
While his speech at Homeboy Industries was certainly Christ-filled, the actor has previously said he's "a Buddhist, I'm a Christian, I'm a Muslim, I'm whatever you want me to be."
"It all comes down to the same thing," he said. "You're in a loving place or you're in an unloving place, if you're with me right now you cannot be unhappy, it's not possible."