Saturday, June 23, 2012
Reflections on the Jerry Sandusky verdict
By Pastor Matt Ellis
Last night, the jury arrived at a verdict in the Jerry Sandusky case. He was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse of minors. There was an overwhelming amount of testimonies. There was a lack of overwhelming substantive evidence. And yet, the jury and most people watching the trial believe that Sandusky was lying and should spend the rest of his life in prison.
Did the jury get it right? Or, as the case proceeds through the appeals process (which almost certainly is a given), will it become apparent that the witnesses were lying? Who knows?
But, there is one person who most certainly knows - Jerry Sandusky. As the verdict was read, Sandusky showed little emotion. Yet, inside his mind and heart, he knew the truth. If he is truly guilty, there was never an acknowledgment of it.
This is human nature.
Adam and Eve would not volunteer a confession until God confronted them (Genesis 3).
Sarah could not acknowledge the fact that she laughed at a promise given by the Lord even when confronted (Genesis 18:9-15).
David refused to acknowledge an adulterous affair, murder and deception until the prophet Nathan confronted him (2 Samuel 12:1-15).
Annanias and Saphirra would not volunteer the truth to the Apostle Peter (Acts 5:1-11).
This is human nature ... or rather an evidence of the sin nature. Valuing self-protection and comfort more than "truth," the sin nature lies and refuses to acknowledge truth.
And, depending upon the nature of the offense, some folks (who have an active conscience) will withhold the truth to their own harm. They will live with guilt the rest of their lives. If they don't shut their conscience down completely ("sear it" - 1 Timothy 4:2), they will begin to experience problems with their health, relationships, etc.
In his commentary on the book of Ephesians, John MacArthur recounts the following story:
According to an ancient Greek story, a Spartan youth stole a fox but then inadvertently came upon the man from whom he had stolen it. To keep his theft from being discovered, the boy stuck the fox inside his clothes and stood without moving a muscle while the frightened fox tore out his vital organs. Even at the cost of his own painful death he would not own up to his wrong."
It is a godly and courageous person, indeed, who will own up to what they have done. Why is it courageous? Because it is rarely if ever easy. In fact, it may be the hardest and most frightening thing someone will ever do ... and in confessing, there may be consequences.
But there is so much on the line! Why?
Because if the person is saved, God will bring discipline into that person's life until they make it right (Hebrews 12:5-11).
And if discipline does not come in this life, it shows that someone is not God's child. Thus, they will hear the Lord say on the Day of Judgment: "I never knew you, depart from me..." (Matthew 7:22-23). The place to which these men and women are sent is a place of intense anguish (Matthew 13:41-42; Revelation 20:11-15). And it will be forever (Matthew 25:46). Horrid thought!!!
This second possibility shows that a desire to protect oneself from truth and consequences in this life may reveal that there are infinitely greater consequences in the life to come.
It's not worth it! Just mediate on the promise and joy of experiencing the truth of this verse, of being right with God:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9).
Being right with God and enjoying Him is worth whatever cost you may have to pay to get it!
Matt Ellis is Senior Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Brooksville, Florida. Follow him on Twitter @mattellis1997 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mattellis1997.