Dirt hit the “fans” within media circles this past week. Once again, scandals were uncovered, involving another conservative, homeschooling family — the well-known Duggar family of the “TLC Series’ 19 & Counting.”
The juvenile criminal record on Josh Duggar, the oldest son of the 19 Duggar children and recently resigned director of the Family Research Council, was recently made public. In it, the records reveal that Josh Duggar at ages 14 and 16 was charged with sexual misconduct. (I won’t go into detail.)
Now, 11 and 13 years later, these sins are brought before the public in one harsh wave. It’s brutal to read about such abhorrent sins, especially among fellow Christians.
There will be many opinions on whether or not Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the parents, handled this situation correctly.
I challenge us all though that if this were/was our son, how would we have handled this situation?
- Do we deal truthfully with sins that are heinous to face?
- Do we bring appropriate justice to the offender, even if it’s our own child?
- Do we humble ourselves and truly listen and acknowledge the abhorrent wrongs committed against the victims and seek their restitution?
- Do we make excuses or try to shield our children from the consequences of their sins?
- Are we more concerned with our public image then with the condition of our hearts and our children’s hearts?
- When our children sin, do we shame them, or do we we seek true healing for them and redemption?
We may never know if Josh Duggar is and was truly repentant over his sins. Was what he did wrong?
Absolutely, undeniably, horrifically wrong!
What I want to address though is our responses to the offender. It is so easy to start hurling the “stones” of accusations when we discover that once again a person was caught sinning.
“Hurling stones of accusation” is different than seeking appropriate justice and dealing truthfully with the offender.
It is the attitude and the goal.
It is how we view the sinner and whether we seek revenge or whether we seek justice.
Seeking appropriate justice and dealing truthfully with the offender does not negate grace. Grace never ignores the offense or minimizes the pain of the victim.
We though who preach grace must understand that grace doesn’t just apply to us; it applies to everyone — even to the worst of offenders.
Grace is Jesus.
He saw all the ugly horror of sin and bore its unbearable weight in life-crushing, soul-agonizing torture. He brought the hideous to justice by exchanging His own completely pure and sinless “robes of righteousness” with the “putrid” and grotesque sins of even the “worst” of offenders.
We, who are Christians, are not followers of Christ because we are saints and sinless We are Christians because Christ exchanged our sins for His righteousness.
Christianity and Christian ministry isn’t for non-existent “perfect” people. Christianity is comprised of sinners who have been redeemed/forgiven.
It is this recognition of our own sin that should cause us to seek not only justice but also to walk humbly before our Righteous and Holy God. A God of truth and grace, of justice and of mercy.
The story of David, in the Bible, is a reminder of the ugliness of sin and its consequences. It is also a picture of what forgiveness and grace looks like. David was an adulterer and a murderer. Consequences from his sins did affect his family. A son molested his sister. Another son murdered a brother. Yet, God calls David “a man after God’s own heart.” Why? Because David truly repented.
And because God is the father of the prodigal son, watching for his prodigal sons and daughters to come home. Because Jesus came to redeem sinners — not the “sinless.”
Did this absolve David of the consequences of his sins? No! Did it offer him forgiveness and the opportunity to be made whole? Yes!
Did grace merely trivialize the offense, or did it face the offense and bring it to full excruciating justice?
Did grace offer just a facade or did it offer a complete and total transformation that exchanges heinous sins for Jesus’ own pure righteousness?
Christianity is the Gospel of grace, redeeming and transforming sinners who have repented and been forgiven and have “returned” to their Heavenly Father.
Yes, it’s hard to understand this kind of grace. But where would we be without it?
Let’s pray for the Duggars… Pray that as they truthfully face their own brokenness, they find the grace of God that leaves us humbled, forgiven, and redeemed
Let’s pray for the victims.
May they finally be able to give voice to their pain and may it be acknowledged.
May they find the grace to begin or to continue in the process of finding true healing.
May they be protected from more pain while seeking appropriate justice.
May they finally be able to see themselves as no longer “abused” but as beautiful, whole, pure, and healed.