Unlike many, I have seen only one episode of “19 Kids and Counting” and therefore am not emotionally invested in the family. At the same time, I am a conservative Christian with a larger family and can identify with some of the aspects of their family life.
I have watched from afar the scandal surface about Josh Duggar, the 27-year old son of Michelle and Jim Bob, who, some 12 years ago, molested young girls. Josh, by every report, has admitted his wrong and has not sought to defend what he did. With the future of this program in the balance, not to mention the entire family’s reputation, I offer these three thoughts.
- Criticism is coming for you
You may not have committed a crime and terrible act like Josh, but each of us has sinned and done wrong, both in our youth to today. We live in an age of perpetual outrage in which anyone’s actions can be brought to light, not only tarnishing our reputations, but utterly humiliating us beyond recovery. To the contrary, in Christ and the Church, there is forgiveness and restoration. In today’s culture, there is only condemnation.
- ‘This’ does not equal ‘that’
There’s no shortage of people calling for the heads of Josh Duggar and the family. The same society that promotes sexual liberation and pornography is decrying sexual immorality and crimes. That is understandable. What is not is how much other collateral damage is being claimed in the aftermath.
We’re told homeschooling is the problem, so do away with it. We hear not enough sex education is the problem, so train children about sex younger and younger. We’re told large families are the problem, so do better on family planning. What we see here is the reoccurring situation in which people take their pet issues and pounce on them when a controversy arises. As Christians, we must resist jumping to conclusions or creating a guilt-by-association in situations like this.
- At least we know something is wrong
In spite of a steady diet of moral relativism, in spite of the seemingly victorious sexual revolution, in spite of sexual abuse and wrong deeds being widespread, at least we know that something is absolutely wrong; that molesting a child is a serious offense. In this, we should take heart. The Bible says, “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them…” (Rom. 2:15).
I don’t feel the need to defend the Duggar family with all my might, but I am not going to cast stones at Josh Duggar or any of them. He knows it was wrong—and that his sins have followed him more than a decade later—and he is willing to suffer the temporal consequences. He also appears to have received eternal forgiveness, which is found in Christ Jesus alone (John 3:16, Rom. 6:23).
In conclusion, we Christians need to take a strong stand against sexual abuse, and never let it happen among our people and churches. We, as a society, need to let go of our unwillingness to forgive and our insatiable appetite to destroy, tarnish and humiliate someone found in sin.
Because who knows? Next time it might be you or me in the spotlight.