Jesus Loves Jerry Sandusky

It’s not just a shocking title to get you to read this post.

It’s probably not something very popular to say these days.  The horrendous deeds of a sick man have rocked not only the Penn State football program, not only the sports world, but our entire culture.  They have brought down a legend and challenged to the core the institutional idolatry of entertainment and sports so rampant in our culture.

But God loves Jerry Sandusky.  Not just “kinda loves”.  He deeply, passionately, completely, and eternally loves Jerry Sandusky.  Thousands of years ago, when the world was without form and void, God new Jerry would fall into his trap of lust and darkness, and He moved heaven and earth to send His Son to die for Jerry.  And when Jerry was in that shower stall (and who knows where else) God’s heart broke with love and compassion for Him, just as it does over his victims.

But I’ll tell you what’s most shocking to me about this whole tragedy is the reaction I’ve seen from most of my Christian friends.  “Fry in hell” or some similar sentiment are words I’ve heard more than once, and those who didn’t say the words showed them on their faces.  I’m not being self-righteous here, I’ve thought it too.  We act as though we’d be happy to see Jerry Sandusky face eternal damnation for what He’s done.  And while we’re at it, throw in all the other perverts, drunkards, and sinners!

Why?

What do we have to gain by Jerry frying in hell?  Do you think that man hasn’t been living in hell every day of his life?  Will the world suddenly be free from pedophiles if we hang Jerry in the public square?  Or will it just make me feel better to see a sinner punished for his sin?

Guess what…I have skeletons in my closet too.  And so do you.  They might not rise to the level of Jerry’s, but I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t want them exposed publicly.

And guess what…God loves you just as passionately, deeply, unconditionally and eternally as he does Jerry Sandusky.  He’s looked beyond your lust, my greed, our self-righteous pride and accepted us.  Yet somehow we take pleasure in the fact that we’re not like the Jerry Sandusky’s of the world.  We’re part of the secret club that gets a free pass.  But not him…not after what he’s done.

I think we’re all a lot more like the brother in the Prodigal Son story than we’d like to believe.  We’re the good kids, and it’s not fair that the rebels, sinners and losers are embraced by the Father just like we are.  We’re angry that they get a ring and a feast when they finally come to their senses and come home.  They get a free pass, and it’s not right, is it?

You can keep your accusations that I’m being soft on sin, or that I don’t care about the victims of his crimes.  You and I both know that’s not true.  It’s a horrible thing that’s happened, and lives have been ruined.  But if you want to think that about me, then so be it.  If you think I should burn in hell with Jerry, so be it.  If you want to obfuscate the issue with doctrinal arguments or politics, so be it.

But I’ve made my choice.

And just like Jesus I’m casting my lot with the sinners, losers and those who deserve His love the least.  I don’t know Jerry Sandusky, but I’m throwing open the door to him to experience the unconditional love and grace that can be found by falling on the mercy of a Jesus who died for people exactly like Jerry.

And while I’m at it, all the other prostitutes, pedophiles, porn addicts, adulterers and anyone else trapped in a darkness they feel like they can’t escape are welcome as well.  Fall at the feet of Jesus and experience what apparently most of His people aren’t willing to offer…love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

There was once a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery, a sin punishable by death in Jesus’ day.  The religious leaders seemed to have the same reaction most Christians have today:  stone in hand, ready for action.  And I seem to remember Jesus staring down her self-righteous accusers until, one by one, they walked away.  Then Jesus said the same words He’s said to so many sinners since then…words that ring down through the ages to sinners like you and me and, yes, even Jerry Sandusky:  “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

So Jerry Sandusky, I don’t care what they say, you can be forgiven.  You can start over with a clean slate before God.  Sure, you’ll have to bear the consequences of your actions, whatever they may have been.  But you can be free of the guilt and shame and self-inflicted torture I’m sure you’re going through.

Even if nobody else does, Jesus loves you.

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  1. #1 by Jamie on November 18, 2011 - 8:29 PM

    Um. You cannot possibly be serious with this: “prostitutes, pedophiles, porn addicts, adulterers”. Let’s play a game. ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER! How anyone can compare watching porn to being a pedophile is beyond me. And Sandusky isn’t just a freak who’s attracted sexually to children. He ACTED on those feelings. He RAPED at least one child. Countless children have suffered at his hand. I don’t WANT to be part of a religion that would ever forgive such a monster.

    • #2 by Dave Kirby on November 20, 2011 - 11:49 AM

      Again, not comparing pedophelia to any of the other sins I mentioned. I’m simply making the case that the church has largely shunned those caught in what it considers to be sexual sin, abandoning them when they are most in need of mercy and hope.

      However heinous Jerry Sandusky’s crimes are, he will be tried in a court of law and pay whatever consequences they deem appropriate. But the essence of the gospel is that God reached into the lives of hopeless sinners and made a way for us to once again be clean in His sight. And that mercy extends even to those you don’t think deserve it.

      That mercy even extends to you.

    • #3 by Luke on November 20, 2011 - 9:55 PM

      The type of victimisation is very similar, all of these things are related and like the others. Child abuse has terrible and far reaching impact on it’s victims, so do the others. You’re as much in need of God’s help whether you’re engaged as an aggressor, consumer or victim of porn or prostitution. The great thing is God will help if you ask Him.

  2. #4 by Carolyn on November 19, 2011 - 12:26 PM

    I listened to Brant’s interview with Heath Evans, who started a foundation to get counseling for sexually abused kids. Heath said JS was very probably a victim himself. Someone who is encased in that kind of darkness needs God’s loving hand, not more squashing.

    • #5 by Dave Kirby on November 20, 2011 - 11:44 AM

      I have people very close to me who have been victims of child sexual abuse, and know very well the long-term damage it does. I in no way intend to minimize the damage Jerry has done. But you are right, the whole purpose of my post is to say exactly what you have said very well. In the darkness of his shame, even Jerry Sandusky needs to know there is hope.

  3. #6 by Claire Grasse on November 19, 2011 - 1:12 PM

    Well said. We are all more like the elder brother than we’d like to admit. We don’t mind forgiving “Sin Lite,” but we sure do get up in arms and self-righteous about the big, bad ones.

  4. #7 by j on November 19, 2011 - 11:08 PM

    jesus….does not…love …jerry sandusky… and yes …hang him in a public square… prostitution pornography adultery drinking and homosexuality even drugs are choices made by consenting adults,and truthfully should be legal anyway… …BUT …these .can in NO way compare to the sexual ABUSE of children !!!!!!

    • #8 by Dave Kirby on November 20, 2011 - 11:42 AM

      I am not comparing child rape with pornography, prostitution or any other sin. I’m just saying that Jesus loves even those who disgust us. The level of sin does not separate us or push us beyond the love of Christ. Sandusky will be tried and punished for his actions by a court of law, and will pay the consequences for whatever he has done.

      And yes, no matter how heinous his sins, Jesus does love Jerry Sandusky…just like he loves you.

  5. #9 by T Scott on November 20, 2011 - 9:46 AM

    Very bold and true post…

    • #10 by Dave Kirby on November 20, 2011 - 11:39 AM

      Thanks. Just writing what I believe.

  6. #11 by Claire Grasse on November 21, 2011 - 9:45 AM

    J – you may disagree, but I must point out that you in no way speak for Jesus. When you start deciding who God does and doesn’t love, and what He will and will not forgive, you’re on dangerous ground, spiritually speaking. Please remember that when you shoot an arrow at someone it passes through your own soul before it hits them. Forgiving sin is not the same as condoning it. Forgiving sin does not let anyone off the hook except the one who forgives.

  7. #12 by Lorraine on November 21, 2011 - 9:08 PM

    Well done, Dave. I don’t even know who JS is ( I live in a bubble and don’t watch TV), other than what I have gleaned here, but yes, Jesus can forgive any sin (1 Cor. 6 comes to mind). I hope someone can be there for this man and see him repent and believe (trust) in Christ for forgiveness and freedom.

  8. #13 by chris sample on November 29, 2011 - 5:32 PM

    Thank you so very much for this indeed, Dave. I am a christian by surprising grace, a survivor of extreme and extensive abuse, including sexual, and one who has learned of God’s love for me, for my abusers, whom i have forgiven, and for J S AND his victims.

    • #14 by Dave Kirby on November 29, 2011 - 5:51 PM

      Thanks for sharing and for the kind words. I’m glad you understand that God’s forgiveness covers what Jerry and other abusers do, but doesn’t excuse it. I’m so glad you have found the healing, peace and freedom that comes from truly understanding what forgiveness is really about. I’m sure your journey continues from day to day, and that God’s grace is sufficient.

  9. #15 by Britton on November 29, 2011 - 8:08 PM

    So true!! That is the core shacking info we christians really need to learn!!

  10. #16 by Meredith Harris on November 30, 2011 - 7:51 PM

    I’m a HS freshman reading this for Bible class.. And I just want to say to the guy who wrote the first post, as well as the 7th and 11th… Romans 3:23 and 24 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” So by leaving the comments you did, I can’t do anything but assume that you aren’t serious in your faith anyway. By speaking and saying that God doesn’t love JS, and we shouldn’t forgive him, YOU are putting words into God’s mouth… Not Dave. God DOES INDEED love Jerry and JS received his forgiveness for this sin before he was even a thought in the mind of his parents. And just by falsely speaking “for” God, you indeed are the one sinning, and you indeed are the one who must repent. God will forgive you for that too. He’s a God who keeps all His promises, and He promised to forgive you before you were even born.

    • #17 by Dave Kirby on November 30, 2011 - 9:07 PM

      You say you’re reading this for your Bible class? What school and where? Did your teacher assign reading this blog post for class?
      That’s very cool, and I’m honored.

      • #18 by Meredith Harris on November 30, 2011 - 9:50 PM

        All 3 of us go to Charlotte Christian School in North Carolina. And yes, he did.. We had to read it and write a response!

  11. #19 by Colin Kirby on November 30, 2011 - 9:19 PM

    Love this post dad, I’ve shared this with a lot of people since this has been out, and they all agree with you, Atheist or not, which is surprising, from the looks of it this is your most popular post yet, and for good reason!

  12. #20 by Michael Julliard on November 30, 2011 - 9:28 PM

    Im also a freshman doing the same homework and let me just say that I am truly inspired by what you are saying. I love the point that reminds us how we are given a free pass every day for all the horrible things that we do, but we hate the fact that Jerry can get a free pass just because he has does something that, in our eyes, is worse than what we do. And to the person who says that you are talking for Jesus, you should really try to open your Bible and look in 1 Corinthians 6 and try to say that again. Mr. Kirby is saying things that Jesus really would say. He is an eternal, loving, FORGIVING God who sees all the wrong that I have done, you have done, and that JS has done and sees it all equally. Why? Because the payment for sin is death. But just because God is so awesome, he takes that away because he loves JS, he loves me, and he loves everyone who will read this and everyone who won’t. The immensity of his love is uncomprehendable, not to mention his forgiveness. Mr. Kirby, thank you for this beautiful reminder of the amazing love that creations don’t deserve, but take for granted. By the way, our school is in North Carolina.

    • #21 by Dave Kirby on November 30, 2011 - 9:38 PM

      Thanks Michael. Tell your teacher I’m honored that you guys are reading my post!

      I’m glad it has inspired you and reminded you of the amazing love God has for each of us. Remember Romans 5…”while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

  13. #22 by Payton Walker on November 30, 2011 - 9:40 PM

    I’m a HS freshman in Meredith’s class. I am also reading this arcticle as part of a Bible assignment. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still SINNERS, Christ died for us.” No matter how great a person’s sins are, the Lord is able to forgive. We are all God’s children. Think about this: if YOUR child grew up and made bad decisions, would you stop loving your child? The love between a parent and their child is unconditional. This is the exact love the Lord gives to us. If one comes to the Lord in repentance, He rejoices, and will immediately forgive. The reason God sent His son was not to just die for certain sins. No. He sent his son to take away ALL the sins of the world. Although this does not always take away the earthly consequences of our actions, we still have the ability to receive forgiveness from God. He is the Almighty, the Great I Am. He is capable of anything, including forgiving the most wicked sinner. If God should not forgive Jerry Sandusky for his sins, why should He forgive you of your sins?

    • #23 by Colin Kirby on November 30, 2011 - 9:54 PM

      This is something I tell everyone that thinks that way, one of the most troubling topics on my facebook is homosexuality, I see people all the time who say they should burn in hell for their sins and they disgust God and he wants nothing to do with them. Well, if he should want nothing to do with them, and they should burn in hell for their sins and what they practice, then by their logic, they should also, in fact we all should. I know at one time in our lives at least, we’ve lied, stolen, cheated, committed adultery, or envied something of our friends’. Basically, I totally agree with you, and it’s good to see other high schoolers who share my same views for once

  14. #24 by Meredith Harris on November 30, 2011 - 10:01 PM

    The fact that Jerry sexually assaulted children, is no different than lying, in God’s eyes. See, this is the problem with society today. Nobody actually sees God working and moving throughout people’s lives, or breaking them down so He can build them right back up. Because of this, everyone thinks it becomes their place to intervene… Their place to judge. But, didn’t God Himself tell us in the Bible that the final judgment will occur in heaven? So, shouldn’t we trust that God will take care of His part, even after He promises us that He will? I can’t possibly consider “Christians” who say that God doesn’t, or hasn’t, forgiven Jerry. When people just simply say that God doesn’t forgive certain sins, then why would He leave us on earth and give us the choice to fall into these traps, making us susceptible to failure? He is a loving God who desires and longs to see His children succeed, not fail in the world of the wicked.

  15. #25 by Colin Kirby on November 30, 2011 - 10:09 PM

    I agree, people have a double standard, they want God to punish some people, just not themselves

  16. #26 by petergoforth on December 2, 2011 - 7:06 PM

  17. #27 by Russ Lewis Russo on June 23, 2012 - 12:31 PM

    Thank you Dave Kirby for true Christian sanity…I thank God..I pray I never become so self righteous to believe that I speak for God or run for office of the local lynch mob. “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1: 14, thank you Jesus for suffering for me and for all sinners.

  18. #28 by thatresearchlady on June 23, 2012 - 5:46 PM

    Thank you for your post. This is such a complex and heartbreaking issue and you are brave to take this stance. There is no doubt that was Sandusky has done grieves the heart of God. At the same time, to say that Jerry or any sex offender is beyond the redemption that comes from the transforming salvation offered by Jesus Christ is to call God a liar. We don’t have to understand it, we don’t have to make sense of it. We are called to believe what God says about who He is. That being said, while Jesus loves Sandusky, the sad fact is he has committed years of horrible crimes and he will pay for that on this earth and in Hell is he does not repent of his sins and call on Jesus as his savior. Christians, awake. If Jerry Sandusky turns to Jesus and away from his sins, he is part of the body of Christ and will be with us for eternity.

  19. #29 by Jim on March 19, 2013 - 2:14 PM

    Yep Dave, right on target. I live in the town Jerry grew up in (just thought I’d mention that). Anyway, As Jesus says, Judge not, lest you be judged, for with the same judgement you pronounce you also will be judged. How many of us fail to see that the reason we can’t stand other people is because we see the same problems in ourselves, but refuse to admit it even to ourselves!!!

    As followers of Jesus, we should not seek to condemn, but to help people overcome their sins. You don’t do that by making people feel worthless. Not that we should condone sin but we need to forgive others, and ourselves. We are all sinners.

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