Penn State and the Hideousness of Sin

Man in his natural state is extremely slow to recognize sin. It generally has to become intensely wicked for it to start to register on man's warped radar. When it reaches the level of depravity which is now known to have transpired for years at Penn State, it then becomes clear even to natural man that it is utterly evil. These sins against children at Penn State are truly sickening and repulsive to anyone whose conscience is not completely seared.

While man is slow to grasp the perversity of many types of sin, God is always fully aware of sins against Himself and His holy standard of perfection. When man receives the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus, he too becomes much more sensitized to his own depravity and his propensity toward sinning against God.

We are witnessing an outrage across America as people learn what has gone on at Penn State by leaders who were entrusted with high positions of authority. What if our personal "sins against God" became as horrendous to our conscience as the "sins again children" that are committed by others? There is a cry for justice at Penn State as the evidence has become known, and rightly so. Imagine what happens within a human soul when one begins to long for justice to be done toward God in his own life.

Awareness precedes alarm, which precedes the longing for justice. In the spiritual realm, this longing is what "godly sorrow" produces within the soul. The Bible says, "See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done." (2 Corinthians 7:11)

When man becomes as alarmed at his own sin as he is regarding the events at Penn State, man comes a step closer to salvation. "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret." (2 Corinthians 7:10) The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and causes us to be appalled at our own behavior and sin against God. Young children are innocent victims, but God also is innocent. By nature, we are far more concerned that young children receive justice than we are about sinning against God and doing what is just in His eyes.

The reaction of some students at Penn State who rioted when Joe Paterno was fired is very revealing. Rather than being alarmed at what Paterno apparently ignored over the years, the students rallied for the man who was entrusted with great status and much moral authority. Their protest is the fruit of moral relativism. Many of those students have had that doctrine preached to them in schools and elsewhere since they themselves were young children. Their alarm at Paterno's firing rather than at his behavior is exactly what we would expect to find in those who have little or no belief in moral absolutes.

Those students, like some of the administrators at Penn State, are simply operating by their base instincts and by the philosophy that has been spoon-fed to them for many years. That is not to say that they support child abuse. That would be insane. It simply is to say that in their natural state, they are extremely slow to be alarmed at sin and very quick to protest on behalf of sinners. That describes each one of us apart from the grace of God.

Would you blame God if He was just as repulsed by our personal sin as we are by the sins that were committed against children at Penn State? It is clear in the Bible that God hates all sin because He is perfect in goodness and truth. When man sees the hideousness of his own sin against God, it is quite an eye-opening experience. When the prophet Isaiah saw the holiness of the Lord, it shook his world. "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." (Isaiah 6:5)

There was another occasion in the Old Testament where Potiphar's wife was throwing herself at Joseph in an effort to entice him into committing adultery with her. Joseph's response was beautiful: "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9) Joseph's worldview always led him to ask himself how his actions would either please God, or be a sin against God. Without that perspective and desire to please the Lord, a person is liable to rationalize almost any actions committed by himself or others.

If you and I always saw things the way God sees them, we would always stay as far away from sin as possible. Instead, it is so easy for us to ignore God's will and simply pursue the desires of our sinful nature. After all, if it feels right we are inclined to do it. That feeling is what got Adam and Eve into so much trouble, and their descendants have continued to experience the same thing through the deceitfulness of sin.

The events at Penn State could provide a turning point for some in America and perhaps even for you. Once a person begins to see how badly his spiritual vision has been corrupted by the philosophy of moral relativism, he may be led to honestly investigate the moral absolutes of the Bible and the God who gave them to us. He might even be led to say with the Apostle Paul, "We are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men." (2 Corinthians 8:21) To whom much is given, much is required. By seeing how badly some leaders at Penn State failed in their duties, one might be alerted to his own failings and his need for the cross of Jesus Christ.

God's love led him to reach down for us and send His Son as the Substitute for our sin. What those men did to Jesus on the cross was hideous! It was even more hideous than what that man did to a young boy in the shower facility at Penn State. When men attack and abuse those who are innocent, they demonstrate just how far man has fallen from God's original intention for us. If that doesn't prove to you the hideousness of man's sinful condition, nothing ever will.

This is the time to call upon Jesus Christ. America needs Him. Penn State needs Him. The victims need Him. You and I need Him. The revelations of this hideous behavior at Penn State are the tragic symptoms of people who are broken and sinful and in great need of the Savior. Will you call upon the Lord to save your soul today? We've seen how far sin takes man into the darkness. Now it's time to see how far you and I can go into the Light.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Free Religious Freedom Updates

Join thousands of others to get the FREEDOM POST newsletter for free, sent twice a week from The Christian Post.

Most Popular

Free Religious Freedom Updates

A religious liberty newsletter that is a must-read for people of faith.

More In Opinion