Happy Valley, as they call our area, is not a very happy place right now. Allegations of perversity at Penn State and a purported coverup by officials there has the media abuzz and people wondering what has went on and have children taken a back seat to adults and a university’s image? Yesterday I got the opportunity to witness to a man as we chatted about the mess up at Penn State. He had some great questions but thankfully the Bible has some great answers to them.
One of the questions he had was “How can a man who has abused several kids ever be forgiven?” It gave me a chance to share with him that no one has ever abused another human being as much as we have all abused God by our sin ! And yet God has chosen to take the step necessary to wash us completely from our transgressions !! “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom.5:8). Certainly this is not to minimize the horrendous sin of a man against a child as that coach has been accused of doing, but the point is we have ALL sinned many many times (every day) against not an innocent child but a holy, spotless, pure God Who has never sinned ! And His response is grace and love to us !
Another concern this man had was “Will those boys (now men) who were abused ever get over the harm done to them?” After telling him the reality some may never since human counseling is woefully inadequate, especially in light of such heinous sin, there is nonetheless a hopeful answer to his query in that if those individuals seek the help of He Who has been abused more than any other, then yes they can !! My wife and I attended our first training on such abuse many years back and the bottom line is that such victims need to come to a place that they can truly forgive the person who has sinned against them to shed the tentacles of despair, disgust, bitterness, etc. Matthew 18 has a wonderful parable to that end reminding us quite simply, yet effectively, that whenever any of us is abused in any way we: (1) count the abuse, vs24 (2) confront the abuser (in a Christlike way and not until you can this way), vs24 & (3) cancel the abuse(s) [can only be done with the love of God ruling us], vs27.
All in all, it is so very wonderful that even when the worst of sins occurs we have the best answers available to us through the Lord and His incredible Word ! As I told this man, “Yes the sins we’ve been told of through the media are terrible but the grace we have available is more than adequate to help all through this mess.” What a great and awesome God we have Who far outshadows men in their sinfulness and far overcomes our sin with His grace !!