Richard Lee is the Lead Pastor of Bethany Well Church in Fort Lee, NJ. The views expressed here are his own and not those of the church.
Monster. Pedophile. Deviant.
These are the words that are used to describe Jerry Sandusky after allegations of his sexually lewd behavior surfaced. Truly, this story, if corroborated, is troubling on so many levels.
And first let me say, that my heart and prayers go out to all of the children, their parents, their future wives and their future kids.
If the allegations are true (even Penn State's acting president called them 'victims' not 'alleged victims') then the hatred and vitriol that Sandusky faces seems justified. Perhaps the monikers of 'monster, pedophile & deviant' are deserved.
[Disclaimer: In my following comments, I do not mean to trivialize the gravity of these allegations. However, I do want to make a broader point that applies to us all.]
However, we tend to demonize and villainize those that have (what we perceive to be) egregious sins. And preying on an under-privileged minor seems to be near the top (bottom?) of that scale. But I think that tendency seems to belie a veiled comfort that we have in allowing us to focus on the sins of others and not on our own sins.
"I am not a pedophile, so I must be far better than Jerry Sandusky," we tell ourselves subconsciously.
By focusing on others, we fall prey to what I call "comparative righteousness". We are holy because so many other people are much more sinful than we are. But this subtle line of thinking ignores the Biblical teaching of the depravity of sin.
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” ~ Romans 3:10-12
The truth of the matter is that we all deal with the problem of sin. And just because our sins are not as reprehensible as someone else's, that does not exonerate us from the punishment deserved for our own sins.
"Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong." ~ Habakkuk 1:3
So, as the truth unfolds at Penn State—and I imagine that the worst is yet to surface—and you feel disgust and outrage over the atrocities perpetrated on those poor children...
... remember that God sees our sins with disgust and outrage as well. Reflect on what God must have needed to overcome in order to love us and die for us despite our sins. Respond too the love that he has for us by loving him and trusting him in return.