At one time, Bill Cosby was one of the most admired individuals in the USA. Now, after numerous accusations of sexual misconduct, people have serious doubts about his character. He needs our prayers!
The truth of the matter is that many of those we admire will eventually disappoint us. Living in a celebrity-oriented culture makes us vulnerable to disillusionment. And the blinding light of celebrity can also cause our heroes to lose sight of their own flaws—with disastrous consequences! That’s why the Bible warns: “So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Leaders of the early church strongly resisted celebrity status. When Peter entered the house of Cornelius, “Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him. But Peter helped him up and said, ‘Stand up! I myself am also a man’” (Acts 10:25-26).
In Lystra, Paul healed a man “lame from birth” (Acts 14:8). He and Barnabas became instant celebrities! We read: “When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying . . . .The gods have come down to us in the form of men!” But Paul and Barnabas “tore their robes when they heard this and rushed into the crowd, shouting: Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you . . . “ (Acts 14:11, 14-15).
In the book of Acts, Principle #26, in my Life Essentials Study Bible I write “Spiritual leaders must never allow people to honor them above God.” Nevertheless, numerous scriptures encourage us to honor others—in spite of their imperfections. For instance, Romans 12:10 asks us to “Outdo one another in showing honor.” Beyond this, we should look ahead to rewards from God Himself. In the words of Peter, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6).