By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
First Baptist Church
If you pay attention to the news, you know that the famous actor, Bill Cosby, has been accused by some women of raping them. What practical lessons can we learn from his circumstances? Before I answer that question, please understand that I do not know if he is guilty of what these women claim, or if he has been falsely accused. Perhaps investigations by authorities will reveal enough facts to either prove his innocence or his guilt.
Now, then, what lessons can we learn from Bill Cosby’s troubles? Let me suggest a few. 1) Just because someone has been accused of wrongdoing does not mean they are guilty. Christians, of all people, should give the accused person or persons the benefit of the doubt, instead of thinking, as many Christians and non-Christians are prone to do, that if someone is accused of wrongdoing, they might well be guilty. They are the kind of persons who assume, “If there’s smoke, there’s fire!” Well, that does not always apply to accusations made against someone. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, New King James Version) Do we want others to immediately accept as true any accusations made against us? Of course not. We want to be given the benefit of he doubt. So do others. 2) Remember, wealthy persons are often the target of those who would falsely accuse someone of wrongdoing, in hopes of making a lot of money by doing so. Sometimes the falsely accused person will pay off, in a legal way, an accuser just to be done with the matter. 3)) We should avoid putting ourselves in circumstances that could make us the target false accusations from which we cannot easily defend ourselves. Men and women have long known to be careful about being alone with the opposite sex in circumstances that could seem to imply an inappropriate relationship between the two. Or, as is possible in Bill Cosby’s case, he might have unintentionally set himself up for false accusations that he cannot disprove. Moreover, putting oneself in such a circumstance can end up in an inappropriate relationship. 4) If we are guilty of that of which we have been accused, the best thing to do, and the right thing to do, is to admit it at once. The victim or victims deserve our honesty. It will help them recover from what has been done against them. By postponing “coming clean,” as the saying goes, we only do our victims more harm. Furthermore, the longer we put off being honest about our sinful actions, the longer we will be trapped in our own web of deceit. This will interfere with our relationship to God, our loved ones, our friends, and others. The Old Testament’s Book of Proverbs says this in chapter 28, verse 13: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” This means such a person will find mercy from God. And it so happens that they will often find mercy from their victims.
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