I read where one of the family members of the victims in this national sports case of child abuse said something like: “There are no winners.” She is right.
Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State and now convicted child sex abuser, was found guilty, convincingly so, with a jury of his peers. Justice, at least on the human, American level was achieved. The truth was revealed and Mr. Sandusky will get what he humanly deserves. He acted as a criminal in secret and now that he has been exposed, he will pay the just consequences due him.
The reaction outside the courthouse was that of anger and hatred for this man. Comments like “rot in hell” were overheard. Some say Mr. Sandusky is “sick” but I would disagree. He is “sinful” and this is what sinners do – they sin. They act selfishly and disregard the consequences and even the feelings of others when they sin, most of the time. They act selfishly and disregard God’s Word just as Adam and Eve did in Genesis 3. Mr. Sandusky was no different except that he sinned against children primarily, their families, his employer, his wife, and others. While sin always looks private and looks like it only hurts one or two people, God knows that sin affects more than just a few people in almost all cases. Adam and Eve’s sinful choice to disobey God has impacted everyone on the face of the earth though it looked at the time like it would only hurt the two of them.
Christians need to stop calling “sin” as “sickness” because it is not. It is a willful choice to disobey God and leads a person farther away from God and other people since sin brings separation in those relationships (God and others). Mr. Sandusky does not have a “mental illness” that would cause or lead to his despicable, sinful behavior as was argued at one point in his trial. Mr. Sandusky was willfully sinful and it became habitual to the point that it enslaved him as all sin does.
So where does Grace show up in all of this? For one, Mr. Sandusky was caught which was gracious to him and to his other potential victims. Now, Mr. Sandusky has an opportunity to repent by turning away from his SIN (not a psychological disorder) and turning to Christ. Our hope is that Mr. Sandusky who does not deserve salvation (just like everyone else, we don’t deserve salvation) and cannot earn salvation (just like everyone else, we cannot earn our place in heaven) would come to an intimate, saving relationship with Jesus the Messiah. Mr. Sandusky can no longer live for the pleasures of this life but must look toward eternity where he will live in one of two places – and yes, he can still be forgiven, it’s not too late when you consider the thief on the cross in Luke 23:40-43 who is with Jesus in Paradise though he was hanging from a cross due to his own sinful choices. Never too late for eternity as long as you are alive but you cannot be saved once you physically die.
Our prayers go out to the families of these victims of Mr. Sandusky’s sins. One prayer is that they would not grow bitter, cold, or angry at the wrongs they have experienced but would pray, trust God, obey Him, seek to know His Word of truth, be led by His Spirit, and live sacrificially for Jesus just as Jesus did for all of them and all of us. They have an opportunity to preach the Gospel through all of this tragedy.
I’m deeply saddened by all of this and not even the other consequences that are waiting to happen in the community with Penn State and other people. There truly are no winners in this life, but there is still the possibility of REDEMPTION where God brings good from bad in light of eternity. If your eyes and heart want redemption for this life, there may be a little bit of that here in this life but true redemption will be greatly manifested in eternity for certain because of the promises of God through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ!!
Colossians 3:2 says: Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
-Mark (learning to set my mind on eternity and not on the sadness and the temporary pleasures in this life)