With all the recent news coming out Penn State, many are asking “How this could happen?” It’s hard to get into the mind of a person who would prey on defenseless children. I am reminded about my calling as a student pastor to be shepherd and defender of the teenagers in my care. It reminds me that all parents in our ministry view adult leaders in light of this story. Are you building trust and openness with your parents? Can they trust you with their children?

An intriguing part of this whole story is Joe Paterno himself, a coaching legend who preached integrity and excellence. How could he seemingly cover up this crime? It seems to me that Joe Paterno and Penn State were able to sweep this under the rug because they didn’t want to risk the losing their reputation. Ironically, by covering it up, the legacy of the school and the legend have been tarnished beyond imagination. Paterno had risen to near mythic status and allowed himself to climb to a pedestal. Now he has toppled off that very pedestal he was clinging on to.

Recently, our staff read the great book The Ascent of a Leader. It talks about how when a leader climbs the ladder of influence, they put distance between them and the people who could speak truth into their lives. Rung by rung, they sacrifice for influence, power and reputation. They don’t admit weakness or potential flaws because they don’t want to lose all they have worked for. As leaders in life and ministry, we shouldn’t climb this ladder that puts only leads to destruction. Instead, we should climb a different ladder that calls us to trust in God and his Grace, live with vulnerability and pay the price by aligning yourself with the truth in God’s word.

How about you? Are you hiding something for fear that the truth may cause your downfall. If you hide it, it’s only going to get worse and the fall WILL be much greater.

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