Friday, May 22, 2015

The Most Important Thing We Can Learn from the Duggar Scandal

In recent years, there have been far too many Christian leaders that have fallen prey to sexual misconduct. Bill Gothard. Doug Phillips. Jimmy Swaggart. Tony Alamo. Just to name a few. Now the spotlight is on Josh Duggar, the eldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 children from TLC's hit show 19 Kids and Counting.

You can read the news report here and the family's official statement here.

Now, it's no secret that this family has been very active and vocal spreading both conservative and Biblical values. I have been a long-time viewer of their show and have personally been greatly encouraged as a mom and as a wife. While our convictions are not exactly the same and there are several things I disagree with, I am supportive of wholesome television and I am in agreement with their strong stand on the beauty of purity, the importance of modesty, and the dangers of hormonal birth control.

Everyone is arguing over whether or not the situation was handled correctly and there is no way that I can say that it was handled properly. In fact, if the Duggars are as deeply involved in the Quiverfull movement and in the ATI program as it appears, then no, it was not handled properly at all. But as a parent myself, both of a little boy and two little girls, I doubt I would immediately have all the answers and know exactly what to do if it were me instead. Would I put up more safeguards? Yep. Would I be diligent and watch over ALL my children more than ever, doing whatever it took to keep them all safe? No question. 
Without a doubt, I would hate to be in the shoes of Jim Bob and Michelle. Can you imagine being the parent of both the victims AND the offender? What a nightmare.

While I in no way condone or defend his actions or the choices his parents made, the 
public shaming of the whole family is incredibly wrong. One sin committed years ago does not bar you from ever living a morally upright life. In the words of my Dad, "Your past can either be a hitching post or a guide post." We don't have all the details of what exactly happened because we weren't there. God was, though. And He recorded it all. Does that excuse what happened? Certainly not! Should Josh have known better? No doubt. 
Molestation is wrong.

Let me say it again: Molestation is wrong. Dead wrong. Completely and utterly wrong.

I think we can agree that there is no excuse for the horrible act committed twelve years ago. But is that just cause to set fire to a family now and dance on the ashes? I don't think it is. 
Keep in mind that Josh Duggar's official statement reads that he made Jesus his savior upon repenting and there is no indication that he has ever done anything like this in adulthood. Hence, this happened before salvation. This is exactly the kind of thing that Paul encourages us to remember in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Even the best of us fall prey to evil, whether that evil is big or small in the eyes of society. 
Nobody thought the Duggar family was perfect. At least, I didn't. But I believe there is something a little more important the Church needs to see and learn from this.

When a Christian leader falls hard into sin, the eyes of the world see and it gives them cause to mock the faith that we proclaim. That's why it's so important, no it's imperative that the people of God fortify their walls to prevent the enemy from sneaking in and destroying their home. Standards should be high! Less time should be wasted on vain pursuits and more of our time should be spent pouring over the Word of God that teaches us how to live and gives us the strength to do so. Satan wants to devour....and he does a viciously good job at it when there are breaches in our wall. 

Parents, we need to quit assuming that a good school curriculum, regular Church attendance, and firm moral rules are enough to give us godly children. We should fall on our knees every single day and wage war for the hearts of our kids, for the purity of their minds and bodies, and for the enemy to be bound from our home. Jesus promises us that kind of power, but if we're too lazy to take it, then it's our own fault.

My heart is deeply saddened by yet another horrible smear to Christianity. But what needs to stop is the ranting over what should have happened over a decade ago, and the gossip that is not only sinful, but only fuels the fire. Prayer is what this family needs. The victims, the family, Josh, and the entirety of the body of Christ - ourselves and our families included - should be brought to the holy throne of God who offers redemption and restoration.

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