Coach Dave Daubenmire
November 17, 2011
“And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” -Mathew 5:41
Wasn’t this the greatest fumble in the history of Penn State? If things continue the way they are heading right now there are a whole bunch of folk who are going to find themselves working in the State Pen rather than for Penn State.
Never in my life have the kingdom of man and the Kingdom of God been so starkly exposed. In today’s culture, with the elimination of Jesus and His moral law, our allegiance to man made laws reigns supreme. As we survey the culture we come to the realization that we have falsely substituted “legal” for “moral.” What is legally right is not always morally right.
But it is the mixing of the two that has made right and wrong so fuzzy in this who-are-you-to-judge-culture.
All across America those two kingdoms are in conflict. Abortion is morally wrong, but legal. Fornication is legal but is clearly a morally-vacuous activity. Even something as seemingly benign as divorce receives the blessings of man-made courts, but those who have been affected by it can testify to the destructive nature of this “legalized” sin.
So, what Joe Pa did was LEGALLY right, but MORALLY wrong. Sadly, he confused legality and morality.
Jesus made us aware of this conflict in his exhortation to “go the second mile.” Please permit me a little history.
In the times of Jesus, Roman soldiers carried very heavy equipment everywhere they went. One of the customs of the day was that any soldier could compel any citizen to carry his equipment for him. The standard distance the equipment was to be carried was a mile. In the example that Jesus shares He explains to us that, as Christians, we should always be willing to do more than what is required of us…to go the extra mile.
Just as we can be “compelled,” forced by law, to do certain things, a follower of Jesus will go “above and beyond” what the law requires. Christians are expected to follow the laws of man, but, as Jesus pointed out, we follow a higher set of values...a set of rules that often requires that we go beyond what is expected of the average citizen.
For Coach Paterno, at God-denying Penn State, duty to obey the law was all that was required of him. But a higher moral law, the law of God, required him to do more than the minimum. Joe Pa declined to “go the extra mile” to ensure that no other children were victimized. “Are you your brother’s keeper, Joe Pa? What if it had been your grandchild?”
But before we all get to high and mighty, let me point out to you that we are all Joe Paterno. We are one bad decision away from calamity. Of all of the calls that Coach Joe has made over his career none was worse than the call he didn’t make.
Football is an all-consuming game. It is very hard to be good at it, especially at the Penn State level, with out putting all you have into it. Every week, against every team, for 46 years Joe Pa was exhorting his team to “be the best they could be,” to “work a little harder,” to “go above and beyond the call of duty.”
Or, as Jesus put it...go the extra mile. It appeared to all of us on the outside, that that was the “Penn State way.”
Today, the idol of Penn State is tumbling down faster than Humpty Dumpty because Joe Paterno, and all the king’s men. Had Joe Pa lived the way he coached, especially when a higher duty demanded, a lot of folks would have been spared a lot of heartache.
Especially the young kids. But that was Joe’s failing...he didn’t think about the kids. He thought about the program, his friend Jerry Sandusky, and the ramifications that Sandusky’s actions would have on so many at the University. But he never thought about the young boys.
As is so often the case in our culture, the “victims” in the Penn State affair are nameless and faceless. Think of the incalculable damage that would have been averted had one adult gone the extra mile and done his MORAL duty.
So, what about you? Are you really that much different than Coach Paterno? Do you find yourself looking the other way when duty requires action? Do you hide behind the façade that Joe Pa hid behind? Are you afraid to ruffle feathers, to make the tough decision, to speak Truth to power? Are you sure that placed in the same position you would have reacted any differently than Coach Paterno?
Extra-mile living, is the most virtuous and difficult path that anyone can ever take. But it is the path Jesus has called us to walk.
this is where you and I come in. We are every bit as guilty as Joe Paterno.
How often have you looked the other way? How often have you remained
silent when you should have spoken?
What collateral damage could you have prevented in the lives of innocent victims if you had spoken when duty demanded it?
“Thou shall not judge” we often hear from the members of the first-mile club. But sometimes judging is the most loving, protective thing that one can do. That, in a nutshell, is why we are called to go the extra mile.
I wonder what went through Coach Paterno’s mind when he first was made aware of the accusations against his long-time right hand man and buddy Jerry Sandusky? I would be willing to bet that he thought first of his friend, the program, and the University. His reaction, a natural one actually, was to protect all of those he loved. Doesn’t that seem like the “right” thing to do?
he went the first mile by passing some of the information up the food
chain. But if he really loved Coach Sandusky, the program, and the University,
wouldn’t he have gone the extra mile by digging deeper into what
little information he had? Could it be that he weighed the consequences
of what his spelunking might uncover and decided it safer to sweep the
whole thing under the rug?
Where would we be today if Joe Pa had done the tough thing and gone the second mile?
Are we any better than Coach Paterno? Do you find yourself making decisions that you know are wrong because you don’t want to rock the boat, make judgments, and offend others. Are you mired in the moral wasteland of the first-mile? Speaking the Truth makes waves. Speaking the Truth brings correction. Speaking the Truth divides allegiances.
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What damage in other’s lives is your silence permitting? Whose future misery is your first-mile living facillitating?
Speaking up does not come without a cost. You will face ridicule, lose friends, be rejected, and scorned. But there are innocent victims waiting for your intervention to protect them. Their protection is where the second mile leads.
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Open your mouth. Speak the Truth. Reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all long suffering.
Ultimately, speaking the Truth protects the unsuspecting…the innocent.
Are you your brother’s keeper? Then go the extra mile.
Silence isn’t golden, it is yellow.
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