I heard a commentator, who had personally been challenged and inspired as a youth by Bill Cosby, talk about him today. He recounted the deeds of the man we thought we knew, the philanthropy, the call he gave to young black men to step up, the emphasis he placed on education. Then he recounted the shameful deeds of the man we never knew. I know he was battling to reconcile the good Cosby had done with the harm he had inflicted. He asked the question whether it was possible for both of those versions to coexist in one man. I wanted to tell him yes!
Romans 7 describes that person. We are all that person–the one who wants to do good, and tries, but is overcome by evil. In no way does the fact that we are all in that boat diminish the magnitude of the evil or the need for justice! Society needs to set the limits and should exact the full penalty when those bounds are crossed, particularly as they have harmed others.
As a Christian, however, I can look at my own life, the positive difference I have wanted to make right alongside the secrets I have kept, and know that there are two versions existing in me as well. I know that I am utterly dependent on and daily grateful for a Savior who was the only one on this earth in whom there was no duplicity. I am thankful beyond measure for the mercy and love which he has shown to me as well as to those whom I have harmed.
I pray for all those who looked up to Bill Cosby as a role model and are now questioning everything. I pray for all of the women he preyed upon, whose lives were irreparably, tragically changed as a result of his abuse. I pray for his wife, Camille. I also pray for Bill Cosby, that he will be completely humbled and finally fully acknowledge what he has done, so that he can then find the forgiveness and true peace that only Christ can offer, even as he faces the earthly consequences of his actions.