I really didn’t want to write about the Duggars. It’s gossipy and contentious and just … yuck. So I’ve been scanning some of the articles, hoping someone would say what’s been on my mind. No one has, that I know of.
So, here goes. I have one concern to bring attention to.
But first, somewhat of a disclaimer. I have no feelings about the Duggars one way or the other. I know about them, but don’t watch the show. This post is not about the abuse, the legality or illegality of how it was handled, or the fall-out since. And for those of you who don’t know, I was sexually violated as a child so I get it. I get the outrage.
My point, however, doesn’t address that directly.
What I can’t understand from the Christian community is the desire to shame Josh Duggar, and his family. From what I can tell, his sin was confessed and repented of. That means he has not continued in that sin. Twelve years ago he did something he shouldn’t have done, but he turned from it. According to 1 John 1:9, he fulfilled the requirements of full forgiveness from God.
Why are we wanting him to bear the shame of that sin? He doesn’t. Christ did that for him just like He did it for you and for me. Jesus allowed Himself to be persecuted and taunted mercilessly. He allowed the humiliation of being hung in public naked. He bore the shame we deserve. He took it for us and from us.
If we confess and turn from a particular sin, the shame is gone. Laid on the cross. Jesus even shouted that it was finished. The power of sin and shame – OVER.
We have no right to shame Josh Duggar. Just as Jesus said to the woman brought to Him fresh from her adulterous encounter, “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” OVER.
If Jesus doesn’t condemn, we can’t either. And we must not insist that he feel shame.
Let me assure you, Josh has suffered in the years since. I don’t know that because he says so, but because I was involved in sexual sin too, that I confessed and repented of years ago. That doesn’t mean, however, that I never think of it. I don’t intentionally think about it, but things trigger the memories. It has taken years of Scripture memory and disciplining my mind to become spiritually healthy and free. It no longer has power over me, but it still pops to mind on occasion.
I’m guessing that Josh has worked hard to cleanse his mind as well. Even if he hasn’t, he told his now-wife about it before they got married. Can you imagine that conversation? Ugh.
And you can bet he has had huge regrets, if not nightmares. I don’t get the sense that he is glib about it. He knows the seriousness of what he did. He resigned from his job because he knows how horrible it is and how repugnant it is to the public.
Why do we want him to suffer more? Why do we enjoy seeing another Christ follower hurt? Not only enjoy it, but cause it. I feel sick about that.
One of our enemy’s greatest tools is shame. He loves to dredge up the past and make us feel the burden of it again, and again, and again. It’s how he steals our confidence and effectiveness.
I say, “No!” to that. I don’t allow him to shame me and I refuse to shame other people who have admitted confession and repentance.
Josh Duggar should not be ashamed of what he did. Regret, of course. Shame, no.
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds.” 1 Peter 2:24 (Holman)
“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5 (NIV)