I’ve been asking my self that very question over the past few weeks.
It started when I initially heard the terrible allegations surrounding the former famed Penn State Football coach. As the trial went on and the victims shared their testimonies of horrific abuse the question began to crescendo with intensity. Then finally when the guilty verdict was confirmed on 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse of a minor it reached a fever pitch.
How could a man who raped and abused young, underprivileged, boys by poaching them from an organization he created called the Second Mile ever be forgiven?
In our society, there are few worse offensive crimes than those perpetrated on small children. These defenseless and trusting little souls look up to us as adults to be their guides, role models, and protectors. We are the ones that are to nurture them into the men and women of the next generation, but when devious adults choose to use their power or influence to fulfill their evil sexual desires the fabric of our society is torn.
So the idea that one or any of those offenders would ever be welcomed by God into an eternity of joy and perfection seems almost as offensive as the crime itself. If the punishment is to ever fit the crime then an eternity of pain and anguish in Hell only seems fitting.
As absurd as it may be to think a pedophile could walk the streets of gold someday after what he or she committed, there is something more scandalous to consider.
It’s the Gospel.
This is truly scandalous.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that all sin is evil in the sight of God and separates us from the Holy God for eternity. In the book of Romans we read that “the wages of sin is death” and “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God”.
Therefore, no one is immune to the death virus caused by sin.
However, God did not turn His back on us. Instead He sent His very best to us. God’s one and only son, Jesus Christ, was born as a baby, grew to be a man, lived a perfect life, and died an unjust death on a Roman cross. He was buried in a tomb and 3 days later defeated death and appeared to over 500 people before ascending to heaven to reign at the right hand of God the father.
Jesus did all of that to offer us freedom from our sin and eternal life by accepting His free gift of Grace found only in Christ.
Here is what is so scandalous about the Gospel.
ALL have sinned but ALL are free to accept the gift of Grace. Everyone is welcome to His grace. From the murdered to the liar, from the cheat to the thief, from the adulterer to the prideful all sinners are offered the freedom found only in Christ.
This means that if Jerry Sandusky one day repents of his sins, accepts Christ as his Lord and Savior, and receives the gift of Grace he will be forgiven.
Only God can provide that beautiful and scandalous Grace.
My heart screams for the victims of these atrocities. My moral compass has snapped in outrage. My soul weeps for the wounds caused by this man. If it were my kids, I would be beside myself and filled with an anger I can’t even imagine.
My version of justice would look much different for people like Jerry Sandusky, but I’m not God.
It’s a good thing I’m not, because without God’s grace I’m no better than Sandusky. I’m a sinner, in need of Grace, in need of Christ, in need of forgiveness. I need Jesus just as bad as Jerry Sandusky, but I’m so glad I did find Him.
So as difficult as it may be, as a forgiven follower of Christ, I need to find a place in my spirit to pray that Sandusky does too.