Lessons From the Penn State Scandal

Today I am reposting an article written by my friend and former pastor Tommy Hargrove. I think he makes a few very strong insights that we should all be willing to consider while the media circus wheel continues to spin away. Check it out.

I read the indictment this week against former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. He was entrusted with his "Second Mile" charitable organization to invest in young boys who had tough home lives and backgrounds. Unfortunately, he violated that trust. The damage he incurred on at least eight young boys (some say it's up to twenty) will last for years; many may never recover.

The fallout has been great as well it should. Jerry Sandusky has been indicted and although innocent until proven guilty, could face the rest of his life in prison. The athletic director and another football assistant have also been indicted due to their cover up of the situation by lying to a grand jury. Trustees have terminated the President of Penn State. Perhaps the biggest news of all is that trustees also terminated legendary head football coach Joe Paterno. This is the man who coached at Penn State six decades and won two national championships. Many claim "JoPa", who had reported to Penn State knowing something shady about Jerry Sandusky, should have done more. This story is a tragedy and the real loser is not Joe Paterno who at age 84 has lived a long, successful life. The tragedy is what happened to these boys and the guilt, the shame, the lack of trust, and the challenges they will face the rest of their lives.

As I've thought about this situation at Penn State, I'd like to share some thoughts, lessons, and why we do some of the things we do at Ridgeview:

*Lesson 1: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)." 
When we read an account of a child molester we look at that person with utter disgust because of their sin. However, have we ever really thought about the fact that this is the same way a holy God looks at our sin as well. Can we comprehend that our sin is equally heinous in the eyes of a holy God?

*Lesson 2: People need Jesus!
Romans 3:24 states concerning sinners who trust Christ, they "...are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." 

*Lesson 3: Pornography will take you further than you think you would ever go!
I guarantee you that Jerry Sandusky didn't wake up one morning and suddenly decide to do the things he did to little boys. His actions began in his mind. That's why repentance means to "change one's mind." Pornography fills one's mind with filth. As a person continues to engage in viewing pornography, the sin nature will crave more deviant and disgusting acts. Sooner or later, simply viewing filth will not be enough. Proverbs 27:19 states, "As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man."

*Lesson 4: Never allow yourself to be alone with a member of the opposite sex or a child.
I've had a policy in my life for many years; never meet alone with a female. It has caused some inconvenience at times, but I want to finish faithfully the race marked out for me. Also, just protect yourself by not being alone with a child so that there will never be any justification of an accusation.

*Lesson 5: If you see or know something, say something! (if you don't you can go to jail)
If I am told as a Pastor in a counseling session that someone was molested, legally I have to report it. It is simply the right thing to do!

*Lesson 6: Every church should do a background check on children's workers.
Any person serving in our Ridgekidz area has to have a background check done on them. We want to protect our kids. Also, we have a check in and check out system on Sunday mornings for our kids. Some may not like the inconvenience but please understand we are seeking the protection of each child.

These are a few thoughts and lessons we can learn from the Penn State scandal. I am again reminded that our world is sin sick. We must sacrifice our time, our talents, and our treasure to take the good news of Jesus to people living in darkness. This world will only get darker as long as we keep the light of Christ to ourselves.

In Him,

Pastor Tommy

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reposting Milo! Such a tragedy all the way around.