Who didn’t watch the Huxtables from my era? I’m not sure that I ever missed a show! My parents would even let me stay up late for Bill Cosby’s stand up comedy; we loved his take on humor, family values, and education. And Jell-O Pudding Pops, I mean c’mon, the best! So to find out a childhood hero of mine had such a two-faced lifestyle is more than heartbreaking, even decades later.
I won’t sentence Bill, I’m not the court of law and he is still under questioning. But it’s an out-in-the-open fact now that he had a secret life, a behind the scenes addiction, activities and patterns and behaviors that he hid for almost 40 years from his beloved fans.
I’m filled with fury about what I’ve heard and about what he did to women. But I want to learn from it too. The obvious lessons stand on their own: don’t abuse others, don’t manipulate and take advantage of others, don’t allow addictions to fester and build without getting help. Those seem like apparent behaviors to avoid, extreme actually, set apart for the down-and-out and Hollywood stars.
But here’s the lesson that should land home for every single one of us; don’t keep something from your community. Letting a struggle remain hidden and beneath the surface only provides it with more power over your life. If you hide a challenge, a mistake, or an outright sin, you are keeping it in the darkness where it can build and take on nasty influence in the recesses of your heart. If you bring something to the light, to a trustworthy group of friends, all of the sudden the power of that wrong begins to diminish.
My wife and I have a no secrets marriage. Imagine what that does to our connection? If either of us commits a foul, even in secret, we are committed to bring it to the other’s attention. And we have, and it hurts and we are healthier than ever and the darkness has little power over us.
I have learned to build no secrets friendships with people who can build up my faith. Without it, I’m afraid of the mess I would make of my life. It takes courage and honesty.
When it comes to faith, whatever remains hidden, remains. Whatever comes to the light can be transformed. Don’t be too quick to look at what is left of Bill Cosby and think, “I would never end up that far off course.” Choose to let God and people, see the real you. This is what will set apart your faith from one you wear on the outside to one that transforms you inside and out.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.