What I’m learning from Bill Cosby

My sweet grandma had a vinyl record of Bill Cosby’s stand-up comedy. One of my earliest memories is sitting in her living room, belly laughing to his bit on childbirth. 

Years later, Grandma gave me her cassette of the same show. I must have played it a hundred times. 

On sick days, I’d watch reruns of the Cosby Show for hours. Cosby made me happy, but he also gave me hope. On the show, Cosby often took the marginalized into his home and called them to something higher. He seemed to be a safe person for all races and ages, unifying them with laughter.

But it was all a lie.

As you know Cosby has been convicted of three cases of sexual assault. But the accusations are legion. This perpetrator has been assaulting women for decades, but because of his celebrity, no one wanted to listen to the victims. But now these heroes are stepping forward. And Cosby has finally been brought to justice. 

My heart breaks. It breaks for the victims. And added to the casualties is the loss of my childhood. How could a man be so good in public and so evil in private?

It reminds me of a refrain from the books of 1 and 2 Kings in the Old Testament. Despite all the public accomplishments of Israel’s kings, most were privately corrupt, violent, and completely evil.

When the prophets recorded their stories, they said something like this: “If you really want to know about king such and such’s accomplishments, check the book of annals (which is no more), but what really matters is he did not repent but did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

So what can we learn from Israel’s kings and even Bill Cosby? 

It really doesn’t matter what you do in the eyes of the world

What really matters is what you do in the eyes of the Lord

Your private walk with the Lord is the real standard of success—those times you turned from sin, repented (publicly if necessary), and received the mercy of Jesus. 

I pray Cosby will find real success.

That’s what matters. 

And what about you and me? Solomon gives us a clear word of warning:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

Let the message of Christ dwell in our hearts richly, so our public lives would be the overflow of our private lives.  

Pastor Ben Sadler has served as a full-time pastor since 2010. He began his ministry serving a Spanish-speaking congregation in Florida. Since March 2014, he has served at Goodview Trinity Church in Minnesota. He is married to Emily, and they have three children. Ben loves to spend time with his family, ride his road bike, read, write, and preach.


For more encouragement from Pastor Sadler and other Time of Grace writers, sign up here to receive email notifications of new blog posts.