The College Football Playoff has been set, and Penn State has been left out - despite having a great case for being included. Although Penn State won the Big 10 championship and beat Ohio State during the season, the Buckeyes were chosen to represent their conference instead.
The fact that Penn State is even in the conversation as one of the best teams in the country is unbelievable, considering what the school has experienced in the years since the Joe Paterno/Sandusky scandal.
Their head coach, James Franklin, deserves a lot of credit for turning the program around after facing major penalties and harsh criticism for the horrific acts that took place. As a football team, they’ve been able to move past the negative history that’s been attached to them, and focus on the players and coaches they have now.
The Penn State football program has new life, and as outsiders looking in, we need to start viewing them for who they are today instead of who they used to be. We need to stop associating the current players and coaches with the terrible actions that took place during the previous regime.
A shift in mentality can also help us beyond sports.
Instead of looking through a lens that links others to their past transgressions, we should make a conscious effort to let go of their mistakes and not let it get in the way of having a relationship with who they are trying to become.
Thankfully when we become followers of Jesus, we become a new person and are no longer who we used to be. Through God's grace we not only move on from our former lives, but can have an understanding of others being transformed by the power of Jesus, as well.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 (NLT),
"He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"
Today, let’s drop the labels and attachments we place on ourselves and others based on the past. Instead, let’s embrace the newness of life that comes through Jesus.
Check out more from Bryce Johnson on sports, faith, and life at Unpackin’It