About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to encourage your personal, daily walk with Jesus Christ, by seeing Him through the eyes of Mark Rodriguez. Updates will be made regularly so please subscribe. Most posts are taken from Mark's private journals or written by his mother unless otherwise noted.

Monday, January 4, 2016

When People aren't Who they seem to be...Bill Cosby, my ex-pastor, and me

Do you remember “The Cosby Show?” Our entire family could watch because it was clean, hilarious and modeled great family values. The Cosby Show made you want to be a better person, kid, parent, and family. 

How the mighty have fallen. Bill Cosby, the creator and star of “The Cosby Show” is in a world of trouble. A few days ago, Cosby was charged “with sexually assaulting a woman in 2004 after plying her with drugs and alcohol, marking the first criminal case against a once-beloved performer whose father-figure persona was already left tattered by dozens of misconduct allegations.” Reuters/Mark Makela. This charge is likely the first of many as more than 50 women have gone public in their accusations against Cosby. How brave these women are to put themselves out there like that.  And in a crazy way they have actually given Cosby a gift.  A gift of exposure and light so that he has to face the truth about himself. 

We all have these experiences when the person we have placed on the pedestal tumbles off. It is painful and foundation shaking. It is especially devastating when it is someone we know.  We want so badly for people to be who they seem to be. What do we do when they aren’t?

The Pastor that baptized me, comforted my family when my uncle died, married Carlos and me, also fell off the pedestal. After many years of leading a very large church, he admitted to a having a lengthy affair. His career was over and many were left struggling with reconciling their view of God in light of the betrayal of this man. There are still damaging ripple effects in the community from this situation and it happened many years ago.  

I had long since moved away when I heard my pastor had fallen from grace.  The news was shocking to be sure, but my first thought wasn't of surprise, but rather relief on his behalf.  How hard it must have been to live that lie, and to pretend for all those years. 

It is difficult to have someone you admire fall from grace, but it is also hard to be that person who takes the fall. Have you ever let someone down? Fallen off the pedestal? It is a long way down and the ground is hard. And yet it can also be such a relief. 

Not nearly as dramatic as the situations with Bill Cosby or my ex-pastor, I do remember what it feels like to be found out. My first year in college, I lived the double life…partying hard by night and attending Bible Study by day. I had to hide the one life from the other and it was exhausting, distressing and ultimately embarrassing. 

I could feel the “Hound of Heaven” running me down and I kept telling God “Not now, I’m having fun.  I’ll be back later.” Which, by the way, doesn’t work. He is a fast pursuer of His children. Like a mother pulling her toddler back from the busy street.

Then I got knocked off the throne of my own life. I got a horrible case of mono (hospitalized for a week…no more drinking for me), a friend asked the hard question “Which person are you going to be?” and my parents found out. Wham. All confrontational, all painful, all filled with grace.  

“For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” Psalm 56:13

The people who loved me stepped in and called me to be my best self. They didn’t settle for me walking the fence. They asked for the whole truth and didn’t let up until I gave it. They didn’t need me to be on a pedestal because the throne in their lives was already occupied by God. This allowed them to see me in my mess and not be afraid of it. They helped me become the person I really wanted to be…not some shadow version of myself. We can face our deepest depravity when faced with the irresistible, infinite grace of God.

We aren’t made to be on the pedestal. There is a peace in knowing that. There is relief in not having to hide. There is freedom in knowing that anyone could open any drawer, read anything I wrote, walk in to any environment I was in and they would recognize me.

In all my imperfection, when I walk in the light and truth I can become who God has created me to be and I can be fully known because I am not hiding or changing like a chameleon depending on the environment. Way more messed up than I ever imagined, but also far more loved. 

As we enter this new year, do we dare ask God to uncover the things we need to air out? Am I willing to expose my dark places to the sun and allow healing to occur? Am I courageous enough to ask my trusted friends to come into my messy places and am I willing to go into theirs? Can I invite a friend to share their truth with me and not put them on a pedestal they are only destined to fall off of?  Let this be a year of walking in the Light where we can experience the fullness of God’s love and grace. No more hiding.

“…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8