Sometimes, people are remembered more for their failures, than their victories. Joe Paterno, Penn State’s former Football coach won on the field (409 times) but failed where it mattered most. He lost his job this week after it became apparent he did little to stop another coach (Jerry Sandusky) from repeatedly molesting boys. Until this week, the man known as “JoePa” had a storied career that spanned decades.
Now, Paterno must endure the disgrace that comes from “things done in secret” being brought to light. He failed a test of character. He had the opportunity to do right but failed to act.
Who could have imagined the fall of such legendary leader resulting not from things he did, but things he didn’t do? Today, JoePa must learn to overcome the shame and guilt people are throwing his way.
Shame is very difficult to overcome. That’s because it is not an attack based on a person’s actions, but on his/her worth as a person. Like so many others before him, Joe Paterno must find peace with himself before he can hope to find peace with others.
The key to overcoming shame is finding forgiveness. That means accepting responsibility not only for our actions, but for the pain our actions caused others. If you have acted in shameful ways, you can find peace again. Jesus Christ offers that peace when we come to Him for forgiveness.
It begins with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Jesus. I am ashamed of myself. I have done wrong. My actions have hurt my relationship with you and others. I am sorry for the things I have done. Please forgive me and give me a new start. Please be the Lord of my life and help me to find peace again. In Jesus’ name. Amen!”
There is no need to feel shame if you have found forgiveness. You can start by following Jesus today. If you have prayed the prayer, please click the “yes” button below and someone will help you take the next step forward.
- Bill Hennessy