Almost every negative term imaginable has been used to describe first, the wanton rape of children by former PSU coach Sandusky and second, the equally egregious cover-up by the PSU coaches and administration. These terms all fit the crime and greedy self-interest by those involved. But there is one word that has not been used by the media to describe these events: sin. First and foremost these heinous actions are wrong because they violate the law and rule of God. They are sin.
The problem for our culture with using the word sin to describe these actions is that sin implies that there is a God to whom we must be accountable. Even in the face of these outrageous events, our culture, our political leaders, and our media will not call these crimes what they really are. The idea of sin means that we are accountable to God for what we do. Such a notion has been rejected by a sophisticated American culture. We find it repugnant as a country that we would be accountable to anyone but ourselves.
But the apostle Paul had some different words to speak to the sophisticated thinkers in ancient Greece. To these thinkers he said this:
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead. Acts 17:30-31
It doesn’t matter if I think that what Sandusky and the leaders of Penn State did was wrong. It only really matters if God thinks it is wrong. Our culture is rapidly going about reclassifying sinful behavior as acceptable behavior. Sexual promiscuity of any type used to be considered sin. Pornography used to be considered sin. The killing of an unborn child used to be considered sin. If we replace God’s standard for morality with one of our own making, the day will come, that just like in the days of Sodom, what Sandusky and Penn State have just done will be considered common place and acceptable.
By failing to label these crimes as sin, God has been relegated to the role of a being who exists only to serve personal needs. But God will not share his glory with another. He will not be ignored. To ignore him is to do so at great peril. We must call sin what it is – sin.