So last month I was able to go and see Dr. William (Bill) Cosby live in Rexburg, ID. I loved “The Cosby Show” as a kid, and I have found that Bill Cosby is an advocate, spokesman, and financial supporter for many causes that I also support. These few I am referring to affect FAMILY- RELIGION- CHILDREN- HEALTH- and I am sure that there are many others. Anyway- at the “Cosby Event” (as it was named), I was super excited for the fun, CLEAN, entertainment and hoped he would share some pearls of wisdom as he commonly does, as well as get thousands of people laughing about common life experiences. I was not disappointed.
The topic that he chose to discuss in a serious manner, which I did not expect- at all- was that people be careful that they don’t “Play God.” I’m sure I was not the only one in that event center of 4000+people that was bewildered and somewhat even confused at the seriousness of the conversation- I mean, after all- this is the comedy king. Right? Even so, the first 15 minutes of the night was spend talking about this. It has stuck with me since, and even caused some serious pondering at a few moments. Words are powerful! Mr. Cosby shared an experience he had as a young medic in the Navy when he was working as a physical therapist. He shares how an older man came in to his unit who was injured and could not properly move his limbs after treatment- thus, the physical therapy. Cosby said that he felt on top of his game, knew exactly what to do and felt that he had the power and knowledge to get this man moving again. He told the man exactly what to do, how long to do it, and after about a half hour of this rigorous therapy, Cosby said he noticed the man had tears falling down his face.
Cosby immediately tried to figure out what was wrong, and after a few slurred words and a slice of humble pie, Cosby realized he had overpowered this man and robbed him of his agency by assuming that the power Cosby felt was more important than the power this man already had and was desperately wanting to use! The man wanted to try and use his muscles he had been trying to build at his pace, wanted to have Cosby help him get where he was physically and emotionally ready to get to. Cosby talked of a feeling of understanding, a lesson, that came to him that has never left.
That people need to be careful not to play God. He talked about the Mormon (LDS) church, and how Mormons are so excited to do missionary work and to share what we believe. He commended the church on its programs for families and our faithfulness and excitement about our ability to help people live fuller, more meaningful lives. The thing to be careful of, as his put it, is not to use our power that we feel, that comes with deep faith in God, as a measure of Godliness. He said that sometimes our missionaries and people are so full of faith and power from God that we feel that people should do what we say and follow our example when those people are most likely NOT where you are on the path and need to be worked with at THEIR LEVEL. At their starting point, at their level of faith, at their pace. He said, “Please- as you share your faith, DON”T PLAY GOD.” In essence, don’t think that your power you feel gives you a right to tell people that what they are doing is wrong and that you have all the answers for happiness. Learn about people, find out what page they are on and work with them from there. Love and accept them at their place. I thought of the “Holier than Thou” attitude that some people give to others when they feel qualified or knowledgeable about something and want others to understand what they do so they can feel like they do… I choose to believe most instances this happens, it is not with a true intent to appear better than someone, but to provoke thought, and possible desire to change if what they see/hear is appealing to them. I often think of this “Cosby Event” and how not only was it 1.5 hrs of fun and laughing- but that he took 15 minutes of serious conversation to teach a lesson and help our religion and our efforts as missionaries for Christ.
So, some food for thought. What do you think?????