“What?” I shouted, swerving and almost sending my SUV careening into the ditch.
Quickly recovering control of my vehicle and pulled onto the shoulder of the road.
I just there, silent and stunned!
America’s Dad, a worldwide hero, Bill Cosby, imprisoned. He had just been sentenced to three to ten years for drugging and raping a woman!
Hero Gone Rogue
Bill Cosby was my childhood hero. I had grown to love his cartoons, educational shows, audio and his video stand-up routines. Finally, I appreciated his two landmark, culture-shifting shows: “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World”.
Although I deeply loved and respected Bill Cosby, I don’t in any way endorse his criminal acts towards women. My support and love for Bill Cosby are for—were for, rather—the positive childhood memories. The transformational experiences I had were valuable. At one point, the word “Bill Cosby” was pure gold.
However, I can no longer watch, read, or listen to anything to which he is associated. The taint of his heinous crimes against so many women ring in my spiritual ears.
The Original Sin-ner
Spiritually, there was another superstar whose life and existence took a similar and surprising fall from stardom. His was not just worldwide. His stardom and resulting precipitous plummet was the sound heard across the entire universe! Lucifer, originally created by God, to serve Him, one day just got tired and made the decision to fall. God, through His prophet, Isaiah, gives us insight into how and why this happened in Isaiah 14:12-15.
Now you might think that my comparison of Bill Cosby and the devil is inappropriate. Others will likely think “he totally nailed it!”
No Easy Solutions
My goal is not to make a judgment call about Bill Cosby’s character. And, really, we should all be praying for him, his family as well as the many women and families whose lives he destroyed, but I am comparing the reason why they both fell. In one word that reason would be the reason why we all fall, pride.
I’ve heard it said that people who suffer from both pride and sin suffer from an “I” problem. At their core, both words have the letter “I” in the middle of them. Both represent and define someone who is focused only on what they want, prize, and desire —to the exclusion of all others.
So how do we not give in to selfishness and pride?
Jesus, in speaking with His disciples as a group for the last time, gave them instructions in John 15: 1-11. He basically told them (like nine times) how to stay safe and secure from the sinfulness of selfishness. He pleaded with them. Stay connected to Him. I know that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but even I can’t miss Jesus’s point: if you want to stay saved and safe from sin and all it’s consequences, stay connected to Jesus!
How to Get and Remain?
I recently heard a preacher say, “You can’t remain where you’ve never been.” Once you’ve gotten connected (1 John 1:9), just stay there. No matter what kind of good or bad things happen to you, stay connected to Him. Not to other people or to stuff, but to Him. Many of the things that we’re connected to aren’t bad (Christian/inspirational resources, family, friends), but they’re not Jesus. They can’t give you eternal life. Only Jesus can do that.
God’s Cleaning Secrets
Connecting with Jesus is an all-day thing with me. I’m so messed up that I need to have a living and constant connection with Him. But often, life gets in the way and I’m not able to sit and talk with Him as I want. Therefore, I find that the end of the day is a great time for me to re-connect with Him and basically unload on Him.
In our daily attempts to walk with God, to know and love Him better, to love others as He loves us, we don’t want anything—including us—to get in the way of that. When we knowingly get out of step with Him (Galatians 5:16, 25), we immediately confess our sin, ask Him to forgive us and consciously decide to stop breaking our relationship. It is not unlike sweeping up those things that we can see; but what about those things that we do during the day that we’re not consciously aware of—those things that aren’t so readily visible?
Promise of Power over Pride
The answer is the spiritual disciplines of silence, stillness, confession and repentance. They are a wonderful way to daily renew your mind (Romans 12:1) and spirit and get you focused on experiencing God’s best in your life.
If you do this every day, habitually, day in and day out, I promise you, not only will you be able to stay spiritually connected, but you—and more importantly, God, will like the fact that you won’t fall from His grace.