Last week I wrote an article called, “It’s Not Possible To Be A Christian And Hate Jerry Sandusky.”
But of course it’s possible to be a Christian and hate Jerry Sandusky. Had I called the article, “Christians Shouldn’t Hate Jerry Sandusky,” only half of you would have read it. That title sounds like I’m scolding you for what is a natural and reasonable response. But I’m not scolding anyone. I’d like to hate him, too.
On June 22, 2012, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, using his nonprofit organization and status as a hometown hero and father figure to find and groom his young male victims. Like Pastor Dan Nold wrote, I don’t have God’s knowledge of the events, but the evidence seems overwhelming.
For this reason, I would like to hate Jerry Sandusky. It’s easier this way, there are lots of fellow haters to join me, and it’s what my heart wants to do. But hating Jerry Sandusky does no good.
Hating Jerry Sandusky is a sin, which before God puts me on the same level as him—needing salvation. God says to love our enemies (Matthew 5.44). Just who is my enemy? Could it be Jerry Sandusky? I can’t think of a better one. But hating Sandusky violates God’s command. God says if I break one command, I break them all (James 2.10). So if I hate Jerry Sandusky, then before God, I’m guilty of breaking them all. Hating Jerry Sandusky is a sin that necessitates salvation, and therefore I need salvation as much as Jerry Sandusky does. I also stand convicted, so to say.
Hating Jerry Sandusky is not supporting the victims. At times I felt that unless I hated Jerry Sandusky, then I wasn’t supporting the victims. I felt I had to choose between the two, and the choice was easy, I’ll hate Sandusky. But hating Sandusky won’t help the victims heal. Hating Sandusky won’t change the past. Actually I think that hating Sandusky keeps the victims stuck in the past. Hate burns heavy in the heart, calling for constant attention. That’s not what I want for them. I want them to move forward because these deeds do not define them. But hate will hold them back, and my hate approves of theirs.
Hating Jerry Sandusky is a road block to healing. Some say justice was served for the victims because Jerry Sandusky was convicted. But justice isn’t enough. There’s got to be healing. Healing is impossible without forgiveness, and forgiveness is impossible with hate. I wish I could walk out the painful process of forgiveness for the victims, but I can’t. That’s a road for each of them. Their abuse is not a road they chose, but they can choose to walk in forgiveness. I can pray for their courage to forgive, and I can work on loving my own enemies, then praying for them to do the same.
So with God’s help, I will not take the easy way, will not sing the chorus of haters, will not do what my heart wants to do. I will not hate Jerry Sandusky. For if I can’t overcome hate, how will the victims? If I can’t learn to love my enemies, how will the victims? If I can’t forgive, how will the victims?
Hating Jerry Sandusky does no good.