It is dismaying and disturbing how many Christians are crying for Josh Duggar’s scalp.
I can understand non-Christians craving their vengeance on the Duggars, with their large, perfect family, “courting” rituals, old-fashioned values, Patriarchy, and stands on today’s issues antithetical to most liberals who believe religion is holding society back from achieving human potential.
I can understand leftist, statist community-child-rearing advocates calling for Duggar’s arrest and punishment, because it validates their foregone conclusion that large, Christian families inevitably end up like the Branch Davidians, with lots of incest, physical and mental abuse, and brainwashing.
I can understand obsessed skeptics who pick apart “19 Kids and Counting” minute-by-minute, scene by scene, looking for evidence of duress, who run websites like “Duggars Without Pity.” They are gratified by Josh Duggar’s vindication of their suspicions. Next they’ll call for the federal authorities to assault the Duggar Compound with excessive force, since it’s obvious that the Duggars have stockpiled food, provisions and firearms.
I can’t, however, understand how Christians want to see Josh Duggar drawn and quartered, when by his own statement, he has admitted he sinned, expressed remorse for hurting others, stepped down from an important leadership position, and accepted the consequences for what he did.
You see, there’s a scripture in the New Testament, that book that Christians claim to follow. It’s in the book of John, chapter 8. You can read it yourself.
To sum it up: this woman was caught red-handed prostituting herself, a capital crime. The prosecutors said she must die. Jesus said sure, whoever is perfect and sinless can execute her. Then he wrote something in the dirt.
As Jesus was writing, something broke in the consciences of those who stood ready with stones and heard him. One by one, they dropped their stones and walked away, until only the woman and Jesus remained.
Jesus asked her, “where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” was her reply.
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Jesus had one more thing to say to the now-amazed crowd. He said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Let’s apply this teaching to Josh Duggar. He sinned. He repented. Jesus said “go and sin no more.” And Josh Duggar cleaned up his life.
Furthermore, Duggar told his wife-to-be about his transgression before they were married. He told her parents too. He walked in the light. That was his only obligation to Christ.
Yet Christians want to know his sins. They want the salacious details. There’s a word for wanting to know every detail of other people’s sins (so you can “pray over it”). It’s called “gossip” and it’s one of the worst sins. Something about the ninth commandment, you know, the one that said not to “bear false witness.”
Christians who are happy that Josh Duggar’s dozen-year-old crime committed while he was a minor is now public to the whole world are, plain and simple, open and shut, guilty of the sin of gossip.
Not only are they guilty of gossip, they’re guilty of withholding mercy and forgiveness.
The only people who need to forgive Josh Duggar are his victims. And I believe, if the news reports are correct, these are some of his own sisters. And, if the news reports are to be believed, they forgave him many years ago.
Whose business is this except theirs?
Who made us all judges of the Duggar girls’ sincerity of forgiveness? If I ask you for forgiveness for something I did to you and you forgive me, what duty do I have of determining if your forgiveness is sincere?
And if I’m not sincere, what does that matter to you? Is there something you’re gaining by my forgiveness? Really, between two people, forgiveness benefits the forgiver, not the one being forgiven, because we’re all guilty of something.
The Lord’s prayer in the Bible is clear. When we pray to God, we ask Him to “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” By us forgiving, we gain God’s forgiveness. There’s nothing in the Bible about God giving something to the person receiving the forgiveness. The only one who can forgive our own sins is God.
It’s one big pay-it-forward chain, beginning and ending with God. He forgives us unconditionally; we accept His forgiveness; we forgive others; He forgives us for our trespasses against Him and against our neighbors; and so on.
If Christians are guilty of gossip by reveling Josh Duggar’s sin, maybe because we don’t like his family’s theology, maybe because we’re jealous that his family has money and a television show, maybe because they all have good teeth—whatever—then that guilt can only be forgiven by God. If those same Christians withhold their forgiveness of Duggar, the Bible says God won’t forgive them either.
Josh Duggar is forgiven already. He’s got nothing for man or God to hold against him, at least on this particular sin. Christians who call for Duggar’s head on a platter, however, open themselves to grievous sin, for which there is no recovery other than forgiving Duggar.
But you, as a Christian, may disagree with me. That’s fine. Your Bible may read differently (I doubt it, but there’s Bibles out there that advocate homosexual marriage, other ways to heaven besides Jesus, and universal salvation—I have no idea how they torture Scripture to arrive there but they do).
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here for the sake of argument. Let’s say that your Bible allows us to go after Josh Duggar, eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.
Let’s apply that teaching to Christianity. God forgives me unconditionally, so I may pick up a stone and hurl it at others who commit sins which, in my own judgment, are worse than my own. So I carry this stone at the ready all the time. I stand at attention, listening for evidence of sin, and when I hear it, I want to know all the details, and share them with the world.
But nobody needs to know my sins, because that’s between me and God.
Let’s get all these Christians together and form a lynch mob, and go after Josh Duggar. Let’s track him down to the ends of the earth, corner and capture him, and string him up by some painful part of his anatomy as we all cast the first stone at him.
While we’re at it, let’s go after Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, and half the players in the NFL. Let’s also get every rapper who triumphantly crows about his “ho’s” and all his sexual conquests. And let’s get every hormone-drenched college frat man-boy who drunkenly beds anything with two legs, without filling out the required consent form in triplicate (or on their smart phone because nobody born after 1975 knows what “triplicate” is).
Let’s go after every Boy Scout leader, gay or straight, who has inappropriately touched a scout, ever. Let’s go after the gay scouts themselves, who, in a moment of passion, sneak off into the woods for a circle-jerk. Let’s go after every member of GLAAD and NAMBLA who teach man-boy sexual relations are “normal” because it just feels good and they are just expressing their “natural sexual curiosity.”
Let’s throw that first stone at every single person who ever committed a sin against anyone. Let’s not forgive anyone. Let’s not exhibit any mercy, because forgiveness and mercy is God’s business.
Let’s force confessions like Tomás de Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor, because we’re all entitled to know everyone’s sin. Let’s test everyone’s sincerity in their remorse and penitence, because we can’t ever be sure they’re not just lying to stop the torture.
If someone forgives us, let’s hold the forgiveness against them, because it’s really an admission of their own guilt. Confess! Confess! You must confess!
Oh, and when the mob comes for you, know that you had it coming. After all, you’re a sinner too.
People, grow up. Christians, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
As I wrote previously, Josh Duggar admitted what happened and now it’s your turn to deal with it. So deal with it. Put down the stone and walk away. Let this old wound, which has been violently ripped open, heal.
Actually, walk away because it’s really none of your business anyway. Don’t tell me it’s your business because the family is on television. They don’t play roles on TV. That’s why it’s called “reality television.” They are people like we are. This happened several years before there even was a TV show. It’s none of your business.
The best thing Christians can do for the Duggars, and themselves, is to pray for them.
Either that, or go ahead and cast the first stone. Just don’t be surprised when that same stone is thrown right back at you.
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