“My Heart Is Broken for Bill Cosby”

Categories: M. W. Bassford, Meditations

Among its other vices, our society loves to find people with unpopular views (the more unpopular, the better) and hold them up for public scorn.  Self-righteousness is apparently very pleasant to the American palate.  Amazingly enough, some reporter recently succeeded in finding someone who did not believe that Bill Cosby deserved to be in prison. 

An ancient actress named Carroll Baker gave an interview in which she expressed her belief that Cosby was innocent.  Instead, it was his victims were at fault.  Baker’s claims are fantastic and easily dismissed, as they were meant to be.  However, in her semi-coherent rambling, she did say one thing that struck me.  “My heart is broken for Bill Cosby,” she said.


Our hearts ought to be broken for Bill Cosby, not because he is not a malevolent sexual predator, but because he is a malevolent sexual predator.  Baker to the contrary, there is no doubt that he drugged and raped dozens of women, doing unimaginable harm.  However, among his victims, we must number Cosby himself. 

Like all of us, God gave him an immortal soul.  He also was blessed with great gifts such as few of us possess.  Through these gifts, he accumulated great wealth, reputation, and fame. 

Tragically, he also listened to the whispers of the devil.  In pursuit of selfish pleasure, he did great evil, and this evil corrupted everything else he had done. 

His wealth was expended in lawsuits and payouts to victims, his reputation was shattered, and his fame was transmuted to infamy.  Today, although he is a free man, he is every bit as miserable and ruined as the women he exploited.  This is to say nothing of the horrible damage he has done to his soul and the horrible fate that likely will befall him on the day of judgment.

What a tragedy!  What a waste!  Even the predator is the prey of the evil one, who has betrayed him as he always betrays his followers.  The true villain here is Satan.  While we long for justice, we also must regard the evildoer with compassion.

If we’re not willing to do that, we must ask ourselves where we draw the line.  What is the difference between the sinner who is worthy of pity and the sinner who isn’t?  Is it, perhaps, that we are moved by our own plight and the plight of those who sin like we do, while we shower contempt on those who sin differently?  It was not so for Jesus.  Though He did not sin, He pitied even those whom He knew never would listen.

In particular, we must learn to see the tragedy in those who sin against us.  “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!” Jesus cried on the cross.  Well, yes, they did know!  They were unjustly killing a genuine prophet who told them He was the Son of God, and they did it for the sake of their position and power. 

However, they acted in ignorance too, ignorance of the damage they were doing themselves, ignorance of the doom they were bringing on their nation, and ignorance of the eternal destruction they were storing up for their souls.  Jesus saw that they were deceived, and He appealed for their forgiveness.

Our hearts ought to be broken for Bill Cosby.  They ought to be broken for all those who trouble us.  Mourning is as appropriate a response to sin as anger is, and they ought to be combined in us as they are in God.  In a world so marred in every way by sin, we need not fear an excess of compassion.