I am angry. Seething.
In May, I said I hoped to have the pleasure of meeting Josh Duggar again. The pleasure.
I still want the pleasure of meeting him again. Although this time I’d want to beat the living you-know-what out of him. I have zero tolerance for philanderers. I have zero tolerance for home wreckers. And Josh Duggar is both.
Honestly, reading that Josh’s name was in the tainted list of Ashley Madison hack “victims” was a complete surprise to me, but anyone can live a double life. Even a Christian.
And that’s what makes me so angry.
It’s not that Christ Himself has lost any of His power. It’s not that the realness of God is any less palpable. God is not in any way diminished by Josh’s–or any Christian’s–sin. But boy it gives all Christians a black eye when a man who stood up for families, from one of the most well-known Christian families in America, first admits to a long-ago series of sexual sins, but holds back the one secret sin he’s still committing.
For all I know, God may have enabled those hackers to steal Ashley Madison’s data just for this purpose: to out Josh Duggar. (God has done much more for much less: see Jonah.)
It is going to take a long time for many people to be healed from the hurt Josh has caused to the name of Christ. If this sin “shouted from the rooftops” isn’t enough to draw wayward Josh back to the God he pledged to serve, then I lament for his soul.
James wrote “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things.” (James 3:1-2a.) We must all be aware that when we stand up to tell of the grace of God, we will be required to fall upon that grace, and what we have hidden away from man is fully revealed to God who will gladly force us to choose grace or death.
But Christian: don’t despair.
Though we who live for Christ know that to die is gain, if we die in grace, we also know that grace is there at any time should we accept it.
Though Hell’s door is yawning wide for us, God’s grace can snatch us away. C.S. Lewis wrote in the last chapter of The Screwtape Letters, as the reality of the struggle with the demon Wormwood was revealed to the “patient” as he died from the earthly world and passed into the next:
There was a sudden clearing of his eyes … as he saw you for the first time … Just think (and let it be the beginning of your agony) what he felt at that moment; as if a scab had fallen from an old sore, as if he were emerging from a hideous, shell-like tether, as if he shuffled off for good and all a defiled, wet, clinging garment.
Then the man, at the moment of his death when he saw the reality of the war for his soul, also saw:
He saw Him. This animal, this thing begotten in a bed, could look on Him. What is blinding, suffocating fire to you, is now cool light to him, is clarity itself, and wears the form of a Man … Pains he may still have to encounter, but they embrace those pains. They would not barter them for any earthly pleasure … He is caught up into that world where pain and pleasure take on transfinite values and all our arithmetic is dismayed.
Him. Jesus Christ.
The One who bore the weight and punishment of our earthly sins is there to receive us into His Kingdom. We will surely be confronted there with every idle word we have spoken, every vain thought, every selfish desire, and every sin we’ve committed in our life. But not to accuse us and condemn us, but rather to burn those transgressions away forever and fall into the infinite love of God.
This is the future for every person who accepts Christ for what He is: God with us, healer, deliverer, and savior. This is the prayer I have for Josh, who has roused many celebrations among demons on earth and those mortals who are firmly marching into Hell: that Josh find his way back to his savior.
If you are celebrating Josh’s continued fall, as if it somehow will drag God from His throne, I have the same message for you I had in May: sorry, but you lose.
If you are struggling with a secret sin and trying to live for God and for yourself, I have another message for you: the hound of heaven will pursue you until you either fall upon God’s grace or choose death. Like the thieves on the crosses to Jesus’ left and right, one chose eternal life and the other chose to perish: the choice is yours.
And if you are discouraged by the news of a Christian who once stood tall defending “our values,” my message is simple: we still win. God is on His throne, and no sin can taint Him. No power can move Him, nothing can change Him, and no one can defeat Him.
Dear Christian: now, today, and forevermore, God still wins.