What are my thoughts on the Duggar happenings? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Okay. Let’s state some things up front.
I understand the Duggars have a TV show. I’ve never watched it. I don’t really care to. It doesn’t interest me at all.
I also of course know about the information about Josh Duggar molesting his sisters when he was younger. I happen to know that most people didn’t mind broadcasting that everywhere though I’m sure his sisters certainly didn’t appreciate it.
I also know that Josh Duggar had a position with the Family Research Council. I am saying nothing about them other than their being seen as a conservative organization. I also know that he had an account on Ashley Madison and was unfaithful to his wife Anna. I think everything I’ve said so far is accepted and there are no major debates on those issues.
So let’s get down to what it means.
First off, Josh Duggar has been charged with being a hypocrite. That charge is absolutely true, but there’s something interesting about it. The only way you can be a hypocrite is if you really do have some moral standards that you are expected to live by. In this case, Christians are therefore expected to honor the union of one man and one woman in marriage. We are supposed to be champions of the sanctity of marriage whether we’re married or not. We are supposed to walk as Jesus walked. If you are someone who does not have any moral standards at all, you cannot be called a hypocrite.
Second, the things that Josh Duggar has done are in fact evil. Let’s not deny that for a second. Let’s not pretend that what he’s done is no big deal. No. It is a huge deal. Molesting sisters at a younger age is a big deal. Being a hypocrite is a big deal. Engaging in sexual sin and being unfaithful to your wife who you promised to be in a sacred covenant with is a big deal. There are reasons why people do such things of course, but there can be no justification for them. When Christians speak of justification, we never mean to say that sin is justified. Sin never is. We mean that sinners are put in right relationship with God. They are forgiven, but they can only be forgiven if they have done something that needs to be forgiven and they have repented for.
So let’s get down to some major issues.
There are many critics of the marriage movement today that talk about how Christians are all for the sanctity of marriage supposedly and yet they have a high rate of divorce and adultery and any other sins in their own marriages.
Let’s not take that lightly.
Yes. I know about Shaunti Feldhahn’s research on Christian marriages that shows that marriages that attend church together, study the Bible together, pray together, and just take Christianity seriously together are far less prone to divorce. I know about this and I agree with it. That does not change the reality that Christians divorce. Whenever divorce happens, we should see it as a tragedy.
“But Nick! Sometimes women and children are being abused in marriages by husbands who are just awful and the wives end up divorcing so they and their children can be safe. Are you saying that’s a tragedy?”
It’s a tragedy that two people who enter into the most sacred union between a man and a woman and make a covenant before God and men to love and honor each other until death do them part and give themselves to each other in an exclusive union reach the point where they can’t even live together and especially because of fear of serious harm to one of them. That is a tragedy. In fact, even in cases where I would have recommended the woman clear out of there and get a divorce to keep her and her children safe, I would still say that it was a tragedy because marriage should never have to come to that.
Yet at the same time, there is something highly admirable about what Josh’s wife is doing. She is working to forgive and to move on. You know what? This will take time. This is hard no doubt, but marriage should be a place where forgiveness is a virtue held in high esteem. Anna could easily leave Josh right now and frankly, she’d be biblically justified in doing so, but while divorce is an option in her case, it is not a necessity and she has indeed chosen to honor marriage. It’s easy to honor marriage when both parties are doing everything that they ought to do right. It’s not as easy when one or both is not doing so.
In marriage, you are to forgive and you are to live in grace and that is honoring the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is a union where you honor the other person. Too often in marriage, we look at what the other person is doing for us. Instead, we must always ask what we are doing for the other person. You see, if people say we were damaging the sanctity of marriage first through divorce and adultery, they’re right. We were doing that. If we weren’t, we were allowing it. Now of course, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have grace for people who sin and repent, we absolutely must have grace.
In fact, that could be part of the scandal of what’s happening.
You see, the world is starting to learn that we Christians really believe in this thing called forgiveness. When the shooting happened in South Carolina, we saw that Christians were rushing out not to condemn but to forgive. With Josh Duggar, when he repented and confessed, that was enough. Sure, he might have consequences like losing his job and such and sure, he will lose trust, but that does not mean we want to punish him. We do not delight in bringing about suffering to him. Christians actually believe in reconciliation.
We believe in it because this is what Jesus did for us.
Anything we do to one another, we know that it cannot compare to what we have done to God. Whatever we might do to one another, we have done far worse to God, and God has forgiven us in Christ of all that we do. If God forgives us, we are obligated to forgive one another. For the Christian, forgiveness is not optional. It is mandatory. Walking as Jesus walked is not an option. It is a requirement. Christians are to be people whose lives are marked by forgiveness and we can only truly do that when we realize just how much we’ve been forgiven.
Forgiveness does not mean we condone the wrong that was done. We don’t. It means we value the relationship involved more and we don’t want to focus on the wrong that was done. That doesn’t mean that we’re foolhardy. It doesn’t mean a woman immediately reconciles with an abusive husband, but it should mean they are open to taking those steps if possible. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It does mean that there should be change on the part of the person who has been forgiven. It means that they should go and sin no more and when we realize that someone forgives us of a great wrong, we should seek to want to properly honor that person. We should all seek then to immensely honor Christ for what He’s forgiven us.
Marriage should be one of the main places where that happens. Marriage should be a place where we seek to please each other more than we seek to please ourselves and any time any of us look to our own pleasure and don’t seek the pleasure of our spouse, we are really ceasing to do marriage. Reality is we will all do this from time to time. This is also why it’s important to know how best to love and honor your spouse. Try and find little things even you can do that will help them along the way.
The reason the world does not honor the sanctity of marriage is that we went a long way to treating marriage like something common instead of the amazing and incredible union that it is. Part of having a good apologetic for marriage is going to be our doing marriage well. The best we can realize is to know what the way is and to walk in it. We are to do what we are told. We have too many people breaking apart because they do not feel like they are in love any more or any other such reason like that. It does not matter if you don’t feel like you are in love. Your marriage is not built on you being in love but on you being in covenant. That covenant should produce love, but the covenant is the foundation of the love.
If we want to present an excellent apologetic for marriage, one of the best ways to do that would be to be living great marriages out and part of that is going to be the scandal of forgiveness that takes place and living forgiveness out. We must make marriage a place of love. It can too often look like we didn’t care about marriage until the homosexuals came for it. It looks more often like we’re more interested in chicken sandwiches and Duck Dynasty than we are in marriage.
That must change.
We must never condone what Josh did, but gosh, maybe more of us could be like his wife.