I, like so many, have followed the recent Penn State scandal. If true, the story is very sad. The lives of so many have been permanently altered. The lost innocence of children is at the forefront; trust demolished amidst gross negligence. The effect of incomprehensible sin permeates the campus with careers destroyed, institutions tarnished, and so many lives ruined. For years to come Penn State will be synonymous with scandal – of the worst kind. I’m not pronouncing judgment upon the personalities involved. The courts of law and public opinion will do that. But, this awful chain of events remind me of another story.
I’m reminded of Achan’s sin and its consequences in Joshua 7:1-26. Achan’s story is about one man’s sin and how it affected the lives of others. Because of Achan’s lust, people lost their lives (died), an army suffered defeat, and a nation lost its momentum. You can’t help but see the parallels between Achan and the Penn State narrative. Achan’s story reminds me of the powerful negative influence of one’s personal sin upon others. No sin is private and no sin is without consequences and casualties.
Penn State is another visual of the depravity of man. Sin running unrestrained and unaccounted. If true, how can someone do something so diabolical? It’s the depravity of man – the sinfulness of man. It’s a heart and mind turned to the pursuit of self-satisfaction. Every man’s heart is evil. Every man needs to be rescued. What do we need to be rescued from? We need to be from ourselves. We need rescuing from our sin pursuit and its death consequence. This is the stuff Jesus does. He rescues us from ourselves. He saves, changes, forgives, leads, directs, and intercedes. I’m not talking about religion here, most everyone has that to some degree, I’m talking about a living grace initiated and sustained merciful relationship with the Son of God. His name is Jesus.