It’s Not Possible To Be A Christian And Hate Jerry Sandusky


On June 22, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, using his nonprofit organization and status as a hometown hero and father figure to find and groom his young male victims.

But it’s not possible to be a Christian and hate him.

“Why do you look down on your brother? We will all stand before God’s judgment seat,” says Romans 14.10.

I’m from State College, PA, which is where most of the crimes were committed. Aside from a few loyal friends and family members, many of us think we’re better than Jerry Sandusky. We hate him for what he did to those boys and for ripping apart Happy Valley and Penn State football.

But God’s judgment seat is the great equalizer. None can escape it, regardless of our accolades or accomplishments. The judgment seat awaits the sinner and the saint. We’ll all stand before the seat (although I think we’ll fall not stand).

If there’s an advantage for any, it’s that Jesus did the unthinkable and died in our place. We deserved punishment, but received grace. And that grace opened up the Kingdom of God, delivered eternal life, welcomed us into the fellowship of the Father. God’s grace is undeserved and unmerited.

But we withhold grace from people whom we think don’t qualify, people who abuse children, people like Jerry Sandusky. We withhold the free gift to those who haven’t earned it. Ironic, isn’t it?

This brings us back to the judgment seat. Wonderful as grace is, judgment is stronger than grace. Judgment humbles us all. So we can’t offer grace to one but not the other. We can’t receive grace ourselves but refuse it to Jerry Sandusky. Grace doesn’t work that way.

My elementary school kept a spare set of clothes for emergencies. If you saw a kid wearing the brown corduroy pants and brown striped shirt, you knew something went wrong: he had soiled himself or thrown up or ripped his clothes.

Thus he was doomed to wear the full body dunce cap all day. We used to laugh at the schmuck who was forced to dress as a turd.

Until one day I peed my pants, and begged to call my mom, but the school nurse insisted I wear the spare pair instead. So I pulled on the spare, and stepped into the world. The kids laughed at me.

Suddenly I felt how every kid who had worn the brown body suit had felt, our embarrassment paraded in front of mockers. Stinging shot through my heart that I had put others through this cruelty. I never laughed at the spare again.

Jesus wondered why we look down on our brothers. The reason you look down on them today might be the same reason others look down on you tomorrow. Maybe not the exact same reason, but a reason nonetheless.

So while many might hate Jerry Sandusky, it cannot be the final response for the Christian.

cs_heinz_as_jerry_sandusky_thumbThe follow-up to this article is called, “Why Hating Jerry Sandusky Does No Good”.

Chris Heinz is the Founder and CEO of Munyay, which creates coaching tools to help you love your life and work. He's also the Vice President of Human Resources for EnergyCAP, Inc. and is an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation, a Certified Professional Life Coach, and a Certified Gallup Strengths Coach. Chris enjoys coaching people, writing, and speaking on the topics of engagement, coaching, and strengths. He blogs often at

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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39 thoughts on “It’s Not Possible To Be A Christian And Hate Jerry Sandusky

  1. As long as you “hate” the acts that were committed & not the person who committed the acts. You are still following your Christian views/morals.

  2. Thank you, Chris, for that courageously spoken truth! May Christ in us extend compassion, grace, forgiveness and mercy at all times in all circumstances. May we pray for “healing in our land”, esp for the deeply wounded! 2 Chronicles 7:14

  3. TRUE, TRUE, TRUE. isn’t possible to be a Christian and ‘hate’ anyone smile (I read a definition of the word ‘hate’ as used in 1 John and found it also carried the meaning of ‘ignore’ or ‘disregard’. Now is a good time for us as believers to say “Uh-oh”…Love ya!

  4. I understand the sentiment but disagree with the terminology. To say that whether one hates Sandusky is the defining point as to whether one has a relationship to God through Jesus is a severe overreach. Hating Sandusky (as oppose to just hating what he did) may be sin, but is it the unforgivable sin? Is not God patient with us in the other areas of our life when we sin there? Would not Jonah fall into this camp for hating the Ninevites, and yet God continued to love Jonah and reveal His heart to him?

  5. Hi Chris – I am so impressed. You definitely have the courage to say the right thing even if it goes against the grain of societal norms. Well said!

  6. Of course we are to hate the sin! No debate there! We are to “love good and hate evil”. Our calling is to love and pray for, even our enemies! Matthew 5:43-48 The judgement is God’s before whom we all will stand! The ONLY criteria for His acceptance for ALL is faith in His forgiveness through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ! I am so grateful that I will not be judged for my sin because I have repented and received Christ’s free gift of salvation! Otherwise I would be judged guilty and “fall short of the glory of God’! Rom. 3:23 NO ONE is beyond redemption if they truly repent! Thank You, God, for Your grace! Eph. 2:8,9

  7. I pray that Jerry realizes how much God loves Him and runs into His arms in repentence for mercy and grace…just as we have received and are still receiving.  Being in a ministry for the sexually broken, I have to wonder about Jerry’s past as well.  May the healing begin for the victims and abuser.

  8. Thanks for bringing this topic up, Chris!
    I’ve struggled with this dichotomy on a couple of occasions. How do you pray for someone you don’t even like?
    I look at Mr. Sandusky and see the pain he’s inflicted on so many young people, and it inflames my sensibilities to the point that I’m hardly rational about it.
    I have come to see my outrage at that type of sin and the desire to exact punishment as a form of sinful pride on my part. I mean, who am I to presume I have the right to do God’s job for him? To Him that punished Sodom and Gomorrah, this type of sick behavior is old hat.
    I prefer to think of Romans 12 19-20 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
    I think the best course of action is to do as we’re told, and wait for the heaping to begin. And try not to take too much joy in it, lest our scalps get scorched, too.

  9. I appreciate your encouragement towards not hating, but I agree with Ben. A feeling of “hate” towards Jerry, whether temptation, fleeting or long lasting, does not nullify our status as a Christian. In fact, I argue that it only serves to show us all the more that we are flawed and need Christ to save us daily, as He promised to do. Hating a person is no doubt certainly a sin, and I can honestly say that I have felt hatred towards Jerry Sandusky for what he did. However, I do not doubt for one second that my feeling of hate, which has passed and was replaced with pity, ever blotted my name out of the Book of Life. That’s not how grace works or how God operates.

  10. Ben and EH, thanks for sharing. I completely agree that our hate does not cancel our salvation, just like any other sin does not. I think, however, that the final response cannot be hate. We’re all working through stuff and by the Spirit of God, we are being transformed. But if hate exists in us, it is something God wants to root out. So no Christian should be content with hate in his or her heart, that’s what I’m trying to say, imperfect as my ability to do so might be.

  11. To clarify: Shame on us if we are Christ followers and give in to our natural inclination to hate. We cannot love others without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit within us. It is very hard sometimes, but we are called to choose, by faith, to offer love and forgiveness to all. It is what Christ does and it is freeing to us!

  12. As I read this I agreed with most everything you said, except the title.  I agree with Ben and EH.  While hating Sandusky (or anyone else) is sin and not Christ-like in any way (and may bring spiritual discipline upon my life) it does not affect my relationship to the Father.  That is grace.  An attention grabbing headline for sure, but biblically inaccurate…

  13. How often are we confusing anger and/outrage with actual hatred? As one individual once said, “If you hate someone, what you’re saying is ‘If he/she were trapped in a raging fire, & you had the ABILITY to pull them safely out, you would NOT. ’  If we as Bloodbought, forgiven people, can truly say ‘Yep, that’s me’ towards ANYONE, then yes Chris, we need to check up on our relationship with Jesus. HE doesn’t turn HIS back on ANYONE, EVER.

  14. Chris, what a great article you have written!  This is certainly a difficult time for our community, and I found your words to be very encouraging.

  15. your weird….If Jerry did these things back in the Old Testament times, what do you think would happen to him?  He would get stoned….so, your views are not exactly accurate…..

  16. Jerry Sandusky is where he belongs.  The crimes he has committed are hideous. He will get what he deserves in prison.  The inmates will make sure of it.  As for his soul,  God can save him. But this guy(Jerry Sandusky) is in repulsive denial concerning the crimes he’s committed against these children and others. Others meaning people like Joe Paterno,and anyone else’s life that was affected negatively because of Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes. The victims are the ones need our prayer, not Jerry Sandusky. Pray for the victims not the Jerry Sandusky.  Let God deal with him(Jerry Sandusky).
      Titus 3:10,11
    10 Warn a sinful person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.
      Have nothing to do with Jerry Sandusky,  his actions were sinful, he was warned several times by Penn State University officials about his wrongful actions, and continued to do it. For over 30 years he did these crimes. Do not pray for such people, it is not worth your breath nor your time.  Let God deal with these warped people.

  17. From what I have read, victim 6 doesnt hate him. In fact, he sobbed listening to the verdict. That probably hurt me the most. It might have been easier on him if he Could hate him but I think this whole ordeal has caused him great pain. I assume he’s a Christian since its been written that he just graduated from bible college. How about worrying about Him mr heinz, and the other survivors? Dont you have to be Sorry for your sins in order to get forgiveness? Sandusky is continuing to protest his innocence. God will deal with him when the time comes. Now, if he (and dottie) would confess and ask forgiveness, then I could give him my concern. Until then, I will continue to give my thoughts and cares And prayers to the survivors of his monstrosities. I simply dont care enough about him to hate him.

  18. How do you identify with the ten plus boys he abused. Which pants do you wear to feel as they do? It is obvious that you have never worn those pants. This is why the abuse goes on for years not just at PA State but in our churches. We make sure we “love” the offender and ask the victims to forgive. This is not humility it is ignoring sin.

  19. I “hate” what Sandusky has done…I mean I really hate it!  I pray that I never have to see this man or face him for any reason.  My heart weighs heavy on the knowledge that as a Christian I have to be careful to not fall into the mold of hating this man.  I pray for his heart and soul – but more importantly I pray for the young men (and their families) who’s lives have been forever changed by the self-indulgent acts this man did – with reckless and ruthless regard for another human being.  I pray for healing and closure.  I pray for myself and my heart.  Thank you Lord for this day.

  20. I think I am in the camp with Shary. I suspect that if the sexual abuser in this case weren’t such a high profile name, that we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I would argue that FAR less people would even care to make mention of this case and obviously it would hardly have garnered local media attention. (I can assure you of this, seeing as a case where more than 300 counts of child rape was tried and received guilty verdicts just last year.)

    We ought to be making a much bigger deal out of the feelings of the victims than how we feel about the person found guilty of being a child rapist. I certainly do not intend to stir up trouble or dissension, so I apologize if I have.

  21. Beware of the enemy that says we must be on one side or the other.  Sin has been committed for sure, and wounds have been place on those who were abused.  But hate, distrust, fear is all the enemy’s way of victimizing us…if we let him.  Jesus died to forgive the sinner.  Jesus died to take on our wounds.  All must be given to Him so we can heal.  My heart cries out for those who were abused and others that it is affecting by bringing out offenses of the past.  Healing and forgiveness is only through Jesus.  Hate and unforgiveness is of the enemy. Will this come automatically?  Probably not.  We must give it to Jesus and let Him walk us through the process of healing.  Remember either or is the thoughts of the enemy – On the other hand, God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  We must run to the light out of darkness away from any thought of sin.  Pray for the ones that have been abused that they will be released through the process of healing.  That they they will not walk in guilt or shame, but in victory of what Jesus has already done.  Christians can be angry for sure…but hate is of the enemy.  If we feel hate in our heart, we must give that to the Lord as well.  Matt 5:43-48.  It is a process for us as well.

  22. You can hate what he did, and protect the community from that. 

    I don’t disagree with you.  I won’t be the one making a moral judgment.

  23. We love because He first loved us.We can forgive because we too have been forgiven.
    It is a struggle for us humans to forgive. Satan will fill us with all the reasons why we shoud not forgive,but we need to be listening to a different voice. All throughout the bible we can find all the right reasons that we need to forgive.
    I struggled with forgiveness and the more I talked with God about it, the more I searched His word for answers, the easier it became. Ask Him to show you how and why we need to forgive.He will make it very clear.He will give you the strength to do it and you will never be the same.

  24. The point Chris was trying to make is that we are all equally sinners. All of us have sin in our lives and could never face judgment except through the mercy of Jesus Christ who paid for our sins. If you are aChristian then you have a new life and are being transformed as long as we are willing to let the Holy Spirit work in us. That is why hate should not remain in our hearts.
    To say that we should only pray for the victims and not for Sandusky is musing the entire point of grace and mercy that we were given. W are no better than anyone, just have accepted Gods love and mercy. Why can’t we pray for both the victims and the abuser? We should ask God tho help us love

  25. I find it sad that Christians seem to so easily identify and sympathize with the abuser, but never with the abused. Maybe take five seconds to think about how those children felt having to walk around after being raped repeatedly.

  26. KatR, thanks for reading. I’m from State College, PA, where all this occurred. We launched 40 Days of Prayer for PSU when it happened last fall, in which we prayed consistently for the victims. We also had several prayer events for the same purpose. There is much prayer going on for them. I felt compelled to write an article where I and some others do struggle–we don’t struggle to find sympathy and prayers for the victims, but do for the abuser. Hard as it is, God calls us to love. Bless you.

  27. I can show Jerry Sandusky grace and still think he should spend the rest of his life in prison.  I can show him grace and still be angry at him for the horrible things he did.

  28. You just compared a child accidentally wetting himself to a grown man purposefully committing multiple cases of child rape. I mean, I could say a lot about this article, but let me repeat myself: “You just compared a child accidentally wetting himself to a grown man purposefully committing multiple cases of child rape.” I’m not sure I can even get past the horror of this sole point.

  29. You can definitely be a christian and hate Jerry Sandusky. Ok, I’d guess you’d say you hate his behavior and not the human being, but let’s get serious….I hate Jerry Sandusky.


  30. Chris, you have some good points.  However, do not think that Jerry Sandusky is ignorant of themessage of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He has been attending a local United methodist Church faithfully most of his life, until the day he was arrested, and then the pastor visited frequently to minister to him, an probably will continue some communication as allowed.  He is a complete liar and hypocrite, and has not confessed or acknowledged his sin, as far as anyone can tell at this point, and this is required for repentance and accepting the salvation of Jesus Christ.  We don’t do us or ourselves any good by hating him, and praying for him is fine, but he is by no means ignorant of the gospel and how to accept the Salvation of Jesus Christ.  Another point:  by not acknowleding the unspeakable abuses he committed over his lifetime, likely many more than he was tried for, he continues to perpetrate evil by continuing to wound and harm the victims of his abuse and all who care about them.