I know some people are going to say I’m crazy, but I feel more sympathy than condemnation toward Josh Duggar.
I logged on this morning to even more headlines about his apology, and it makes me sad to see the glee some people express over bashing the Duggar family. It’s not just coming from the liberal side of the fence, either. I read this the other day. The author has zero sympathy? Really? Is she so righteous that she can’t feel even slightly sorry for someone whose private sins have been repeatedly thrown out on public display?
I think if you profess Christ yet can’t muster an iota of pity for Josh, or his family, then I think you need to check yourself. Because who on this planet, who, can say that they’ve never done anything privately that would result in shame if made public?
I can’t say that. And if you’re honest with yourself, neither can you.
I’ve seen people saying, “Well, he didn’t apologize until he got caught!” Well, duh. Do you? And how do we know he hadn’t confessed his sins and battled and struggled to do the right thing for years? It seems pretty clear now that he is up against a real sex addiction.
We’re drawn to gossip over the sexual sins of those in the public eye, but what about the gossiping itself? Oops. We’re not really supposed to be indulging in that, either.
The problem with Christianity, the problem with Jesus, is that he said really difficult things like, if you simply look at someone with lust in your heart, it’s the same as actually committing adultery.
Another tough one: hating someone is the heart equivalent of murder.
Just reading a few articles brings to mind mobs chasing down the Duggar family with torches and pitchforks. But who among them is free of any personal wrongdoing? You can’t call Josh a hypocrite while simultaneously declaring your own hatred. I mean, you can. But at least acknowledge the irony.
I get that what he did was dirty, low-down rotten. Molesting his sisters as a youth, being a paying member of that adultery website, cheating on his wife. Leaving those cherub-faced little ones at home to go experiment with what amounts to prostitutes, all while working for a family-values organization and projecting a sound, moral character. He deserves to be called a dirtbag, and worse, for the shame he’s brought on his wife and their precious babies. I feel sorry for Anna and the kids most of all.
But, here’s the part that makes me twitch: by Jesus’ holy standard, I’m a total dirtbag, too.
Ever lusted after a person you weren’t married to? I have. Did I act on it? No. Would I have? I’d like to think that I am totally incapable of such an action. I truly love my husband and have zero desire to hurt him. But during a particularly tough season in our marriage, the grass started looking greener elsewhere and though I’ve never stepped a toe over that property line, I get why people do. Because it’s tempting and easy and escaping. What was Josh escaping? I could write a whole other blog post about the possibilities, for sure. But it’s not really my business, is it?
I know women who will curse their husband’s use of pornography while being the first one in line to see Magic Mike or Fifty Shades of Grey. Ever watched those films, read those books? Then you can’t say anything about anyone else’s sexual sins because you are guilty, too.
Ever told a lie? I know some compulsive liars who are publicly bashing the Duggars. Have you ever been gluttonous? Slothful? I have. Actually of all the vices on this planet, I love the combination of slothful gluttony the most. Give me some Chinese carry-out, my recliner and the remote control and I am in heaven. Top it off with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Crunch and whoa, you ain’t never seen someone enjoy sinning as much as me! I’m not saying that watching Netflix or eating those foods are in and of themselves, bad. But my heart toward them, the deep, gutteral drive to pursue self-indulgence, that is the problem. And oh, how we all love chasing after our particular brands of self-indulgence.
But sinning isn’t always about satisfying self. What about this gem from James 4? “Any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.” Fed any orphans lately? Bought shoes for the homeless? Tutored a child in need? If not, why not? We all know people are in need of something we could give, but we don’t do it. Sins of omission, I believe the Catholic church calls them.
The trouble with sin is how we see it:
So no one is in a place to condemn, even if you haven’t cheated on your wife, or hurt a child, or indulged in pornography.
Plank eye. We all have it. We’re all hypocrites, every one of us, if we bother to look that far inside.
Remember when the Pharisees wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery, and Jesus started writing in the dirt? Slowly, all the accusers walked away. Some have speculated that he wrote their secret sins in the dirt, and as their truths were brought into the open, they left in shame, realizing they were no better than the one they were about to kill.
The media has encircled Josh and they laugh as their fists lob sweat-covered stones at his face.
I’m no Jesus and I let him down daily, but I am forgiven. And though salvation is a one-time deal, we all remain in continual need of forgiveness. And this post, today, is me writing in the dirt with my finger, my heart breaking for a broken man and a broken family, and wondering: who is so pure that he can throw any stone at all?
Jesus is the only one who could’ve. But he didn’t.
And because he didn’t, I can’t, either.
I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its décor.
But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp –
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.
There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.
Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.
I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
‘I would love to hear Your take.
‘How’d all these sinners get up here?
‘God must’ve made a mistake.’
‘And why is everyone so quiet,
‘So somber — give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said,
‘They’re all in shock!
‘No one thought they’d see you.’