Alex Wire
6/24/12 at 10:52 AM 1 Comments

Sobering Thoughts on Jerry Sandusky Story

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(Photo: Reuters/Pat Little)

Can we afford to turn a blind eye towards evil?

We need look no further than this weekend’s headlines to find the answer.

Jerry Sandusky on suicide watch after being found guilty of child sex abuse

Sandusky Son With Troubled Past Went From Ally to Accuser

Jerry Sandusky case raised awareness of child sexual abuse

It was extremely sobering for me to hear on Friday evening that the former Penn State football assistant had been found guilty on 45 of the 48 counts against him involving sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period.

I had pushed this story to the back of my mind, maybe even out of my mind since it began sometime before Sandusky’s arrest last November. I don’t know exactly why, other than maybe I simply didn't want to process something so gruesome. However, the news of the guilty verdicts pushed some thoughts about the story to the forefront of my mind.

It’s not always easy to recognize evil. I’m not defending or accusing anyone – just astonished at how much damage the devil can do when given a foothold in someone’s life, in someone’s family, in someone’s friends, in someone’s place of employment… in someone’s community.

It is too easy to get into the blame game. It appears that too many people were guilty of shuffling off or co-signing the evil behavior that must have manifested itself from Sandusky in some way or another.

I asked others for opinions about the Sandusky/Penn State story and was reminded that no matter what I think I’ve done to prevent evil from entering my life or how much success in doing so may have occurred, I can only be thankful for my life in Christ.

“There, but for the grace of God, go I,” wrote my friend in response to my question about the story.

I Googled the phrase to find its origin.

John Bradford (1510–1555) was an English Reformer and martyr best remembered for his utterance "'There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford," according to Wikipedia. The entry continues, “These words were uttered by Bradford while imprisoned in the Tower of London when he saw a criminal on his way to execution; however, the attribution has been questioned. Bradford was in the Tower of London for alleged crimes against Mary Tudor for his Protestant faith.”

I recently made a decision to recommit my life to Christ. It’s not that I lost faith in Him or that I had completely fallen away, but there were some bad things creeping in. To some, the backtracking that I was doing could be viewed as the expected norm in our society – nothing remotely close to evil.

During my process of recommitting (because it was a process rather than just a moment) I heard a message from men’s ministry pastor Kenny Luck who talked about spiritual battle. At one point during the study, he described how the U.S. military was able to defeat the enemy during WWII in Europe by first establishing beachheads during the Allied invasion of Normandy.

Establishing beachheads was critical in being able to advance militarily any further – a strong foothold must be established first. Victory was then possible.

Luck used the Normandy invasion example to talk about the advancement of the church in this fallen world. It was an illustration of how Godly men can establish beachheads against evil when awakened to move past simply being church attendees to active Christian men advancing God’s Kingdom in ways led by the Holy Spirit.

The reverse can be true about evil. The devil can establish a beachhead in someone’s life and eventually destroy it and the lives of so many people around them – their “blast zone” of influence, like the men’s pastor likes to refer to it.

I am so grateful that I have people around me, my friends and the people I listen to closely, who can recognize when something is not quite right in my life. More importantly, I am so grateful that I chose to accept Christ 13 years ago and that by leaning on Him to the best of my ability, I am able to (not always … progress, not perfection) sense His promptings and be open to correction.

By the grace of God I’m able to sometimes even act on the direction He has given me.

Can anyone afford to turn a blind eye on evil? No. The damage is too great.

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Twitter: @AlexMurashko

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