Friday, 5 June 2015

Josh Duggar and forgiveness

Far, far away in the mystical land of Oz more than a few articles have been circulating about Josh Duggar and his family. I expect US news channels have been talking about little else. Part of me wants to stick my head in the sand and wait until it all blows over but I've been sufficiently irked that I feel the need to write this post.

Firstly, I do not speak as a victim of sexual abuse. For that kind of insight I recommend Joshua Roger's post

Secondly, I do believe that God can forgive all sin by "the riches of grace" and the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1: 7). And I expect we're all on the same page that Joshua Duggar did commit sin.

Forgiveness is found in Jesus.
Image by geralt under CC license

Thirdly, I do not agree with Christians saying that "he should be executed!!!" and baying for his blood. I do not believe in the death penalty (see my post on the Bali 9) and I think we, as Christ's followers, can do better than this. Ask God about it sometime:

"It is mine to avenge; I will repay." (Deuteronomy 32: 35a)

Some writers, such as this Geeks Under Grace post, go as far as to celebrate the testament of Josh Duggar's life as an exemple of redemption. I struggle with this, I really do. I think it comes across as insensitive to the victims and ignores the gravity of the situation. While I do not believe that was the author's intention it's hard to read it and lash out emotionally (note: I do not recommend this. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit [Galations 5: 23]).

Yes, Josh Duggar can and has (to the best of my very limited knowledge) found forgiveness and freedom in Christ. But that does not mean he shouldn't face the consequences of his actions through the justice system (no I'm still not going to say that we should execute him).

To face the court of law, albeit an earthly one, is the right thing to do in my opinion. The girls may not want to press charges (statute of limitations aside), and that is their choice, but they should have the option. It doesn't mean that their brother isn't forgiven by Christ or even that they themselves don't love him. 

I am reminded of an episode of Press Gang, "Something Terrible," in which one of the characters discovers a young girl is being sexually abused by their father. This character shares his concerns with the main character and editor of the student paper. They decide to run a special edition on child abuse and are brainstorming some of the questions or concerns they should address:

Spike: I'm worried about my dad.

Colin: What?

Spike: Maybe I still love him. I mean he is my dad. What's going to happen to him?

Colin: If your dad loved you then he knows he shouldn't be doing this, he knows he's harming you. And if he can't stop doing it on his own, then he needs someone to stop him.

I couldn't have said it better myself. I strongly agree with Joshua Rogers in saying that sexual abuse should not be dealt with internally (within the church): go to the police (which the Duggars did), do not cover it up, do not sweep it under the rug. They can find forgiveness and redememption in Christ while still allowing justice to be served.


Crafts a la Mode said...

Agreed. Best wishes, Linda Crafts a la Mode

Unknown said...

Well said. So many emotions pulling and voices speaking, that the truth that God forgives each one of us can become lost. And yes, my heart HURTS for his sisters. Naive and protected by their brother is what they should have been...yet were not.

God help them and him.

Mary Geisen said...

Great perspective on the Josh Duggar situation. Thank you for not taking an attitude of attack or condemnation. Christians can become ugly in these situations because they shout out their first thoughts instead of asking God to be the voice of discernment. Glad to be visiting you from #DanceWIthJesus

Yvonne Chase said...

People said he should be executed? For what> I never heard that. God can and does forgive all sins. Sin is sin to him. One sin is not worst than the other. Josh is forgiven. Thank God for Jesus.

MB said...

I've been as surprised as you, Yvonne. It's disheartening how many times I've seen it on comment sections, especially on Christian articles.

Crystal Storms said...

MB, though I probably could be accused of living under a rock, I've seen very little of this infamous story, just a few bloggers' opinions. But with the little I've heard, it does seem to be a story that touches a nerve with so many.

I was abused as a child and finally came forward years later. Thankfully, it was a babysitter's husband I no longer had contact with which made moving on easier. But even though the statute of limitations had not passed, I was unwilling to relive the details through the courts. Plus, the penalties were minimal back then.

Grace vs forgiveness ... it's a fine line for a Christian. But I think you said it well, MB, that the earthly outcome would best be handled in the courts. #DanceWithJesus, my friend. : )

MB said...

Thank you for your honesty Crystal. I'm glad you've since been able to talk about it and I pray that God's healing love and mercy will continue to pour into any of those old wounds. And may you too #DanceWithJesus as He rejoices over you with singing! (Zephaniah 3: 17).

Ifeoma Samuel said...

Hello MB, forgiveness is not easy but that is what God did for us by giving us Jesus.
Thanks for sharing your perspective on the issue.
Many Blessings to you.