Penn State’s Empty Chair

A painting at Penn State by Michael Pilato called, “Inspiration” has been changed.  A person has been painted over.  At one time he sat in the now empty chair.  But no more… he’s gone from the mural.  In his place there is a blue ribbon, which is a symbol for the campaign to end child abuse (Seen in the chair on the left.  Click to enlarge.).

I can’t imagine the pain those kids have… are… and will go through.  I can’t imagine the anger and fury of the parents of those young boys.  I can’t fathom how respected, educated, supposedly moral people could gloss over such an event… and in so doing allowed the most reprehensible of conduct to continue… for almost a decade!  But they did…

Like most people, many thoughts have run through my mind since the story broke.  The one I’ve thought of most is that finishing life well is a day-to-day… life long process.  It is possible to do things properly for decades, then commit a sin of either commission (By acting) or omission (NOT acting) that destroys many lives.  Be sure, the sin of omission of many at Penn State is not their only failure… but it is what they’ll be remembered for.  NOT doing what they should have done is their sin.  (The next picture is the artist in the process of removing the man from the mural.)

  The difference between them and us is miniscule.  So little in fact we should tremble in our shoes.  Given the right time and situation and pressures… none of us can say with 100% assurance what we would do in a particular set of circumstances (I’m not talking about the reprobate himself, the coach that caught the infidel reprobate or even Coach Paterno, but rather others in the wider circumference of the event.).  We can hope… we can pray… we can desire to do the right thing, but the reality is we are all subject to fail… and fail horribly.  1 Cor 10:12… “Let him who stands take heed lest HE fall…” 

It is doubtful that those who read this will have to deal with a situation of this severity and magnitude… but we never know.  Most of us are more likely to get stuck by lightening than encountering a situation such as took place at Penn State.  But that doesn’t mean we won’t be tested severely some day and we’d better be ready for it before it happens.  Click here for a really good perspective on this tragic event.

As Christians, our worry should not about our own reputation… but that we take care not to tarnish the name of Christ.  I’m sure that those in positions of leadership at Penn State have faith (At least I hope they do).  There’s a good chance they attend church in some form regularly (At least I hope so).  And yet if those are the cases, that places more of a responsibility on them to act in accordance with their faith… especially if it is a Christian faith.  One of the worst things that can be said about any Christian is that they are a hypocrite.  This fallout of hypocrisy is warned against in Romans 2:24, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you…”

Every Christian should pray faithfully and passionately, “Father… please keep me from giving anyone a cause to blaspheme Your name!  Strengthen me so that I may always reflect your love… grace… mercy… and goodness.  Strike me dead before allowing me to do anything that brings disrepute upon Your Holy Name!”

May God heal the victims and their families.  May He deal as He wills with those who are guilty.  Even in this severe time, may God be glorified according to His providence.

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One comment on “Penn State’s Empty Chair

  1. Margaret Hall says:

    I have a good friend that is a graduate of Penn State and she stated Joe Peterno should have gone out in glory and style. I do agree, but only if this sex scandal had not been true. Coach Peterno knew about this Coach and even though he reported it, apparently the Trustees did not want any adverse criticism. A very bad price to pay for innoncent young boys. How could Coach Peterno work side by side with this monster knowing what was and had gone on …I am on the side that the great Coach should have been fired.

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