The Moral Tragedy at Penn State
Penn State. Two weeks ago it would have been used as an example of an upstanding moral sports program. That is no longer true, I have watched with a sad heart the last two weeks as a gut-wrenching story has been revealed. In 2002 a graduate assistant told football coach Joe Paterno that he had witnessed former long time assistant Jerry Sandusky allegedly sexually abuse a young boy at the football facilities. It is now 2011, and a blind eye was turned to this tragedy for years. The graduate assistant told Paterno and then wiped his hands of it. Paterno told his superiors and then wiped his hands of it, until it was just ignored. Penn State has now fired Paterno, their head football coach of 46 years, their President, and several other high administrators at the school. As I have reflected on this story this past week it made me think about some things in regard to Christianity.
1) How many times do we do the minimum? The biggest story coming out of this scandal in the way it was reported by the news was not the sexual abuse that was allegedly committed. The biggest story was how Paterno did the minimum in handling this incident. All Paterno did was report it to his superiors. He never reported it the police, he never followed up to make sure it was handled; all he did was the minimum that he thought he could get away with. In the Bible the church at Laodicea just did the minimum, and it was just as bad as doing nothing. Jesus called them lukewarm, and said he would spit them out of his mouth. Rev.3:16
2) Influence takes a long times to build, and a short time to tear down. Joe Paterno was a legend at Penn State. He had built the school’s program on morality, academics, and winning. He had coached there for an unheard of 61 years. He will now be remembered through his failure to act. All of the success he had will now be tarnished by this one incident. As Christians, we can be a light to world and have our influence torn down by one incident. We have a great responsibility to always keep that in mind. Matthew 5:14
3) Failing to act can have lingering consequences. The failure of the institution of Penn State will have lingering consequences, in fact their program will never be the same . As children of God, failing to act can have devastating consequence as well. If we fail to act upon the word of God and become children of his, and if we fail to act and live faithfully according to his word the consequences will be eternal. Matthew 25:33-34.