Josh Duggar. I had not. I have blogged about the Duggars before, so he knew of my interest in their false representation of Christianity, which I blogged to refute. The latest news of Josh's accounts at the infidelity website, AshleyMadison.com, was news to me, but not altogether a surprise.
I knew there was more. I believe there is still more than this, we just don't know it yet.
You can read his statement here. He made this statement after he was busted, which gives it less of an impact than it would have had if he had owned the sin a few months ago when he was hiding behind his youth in his other offenses.
As I said in another, related blog post, Josh comes by this behavior and tendency quite naturally, and not just because of his inborn sin nature, which we all share. He grew up in a climate of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, given freely to him by his father. Even recently, Jim Duggar proved that he doesn't "get it" by making inappropriate remarks at a family friend's wedding.
He and wife, Michelle, further proved that they don't "get it" by stating, "...we are not a perfect family...."
We need to be aware of what this language means. When someone caught in the spotlight of their own sin reminds the world that they are not perfect, this is an attempt to deflect whatever shame, disgrace and humiliation they are feeling.
To claim imperfection is a minimization of sin.
Everyone knows that no one is perfect.
Stating the obvious is an attempt to deflect the sin.
Deflecting the sin is not dealing with the sin.
In his statement, Josh did refer to his behavior as "sin," which is accurate, but by the end of the statement it was a "bad example," and "personal failure." This is not terminology of repentance. Yes, it was a bad example and, yes, it was a personal failure, but it was and is so much more than that. Those are terms others can come to use once they work through the admission and forgiveness aspect of his sins. Those are not terms he, himself, or his family, should use.
Lest you think I'm unforgiving, don't be fooled. I do believe Josh's sins can be forgiven. Of course. Forgiveness is the foundation of our faith because those of us who believe Jesus is our Savior have experienced forgiveness first hand. Jesus says, many times, to people He personally interacted with, "Go and sin no more." He expected their lives to change. He never told them to stop having personal failures because personal failures are inevitable. He never told them to stop being a bad example because we humans are going to be bad examples at times. He told them to stop living their sinful lifestyle. He didn't mince words and neither should we when we deal with these things.
However, the Duggars' issues go further than Josh's infidelity. They go further than his lying. They go further than his hypocrisy.
Raising children in a sexual climate, as the Duggars have, is abuse.
The Duggars have claimed persecution through their various scandals, but they are wrong. They are not being persecuted for their faith. They have mocked faith, have mocked God and His Word.
They are reaping what they have sown.
World, this is not what Christianity looks like. The Duggars do not represent evangelical Christianity at all.
Evangelical Christianity does not have a dress code where the women are put into skirts for every single activity they ever do and boys must always, always wear long pants.
Evangelical Christianity does not have a hair style requirement in which girls have to have long, flowing hair and boys' hair has to be short and parted on one side.
Evangelical Christianity does not have a set of "Biblical principles" to live by.
Evangelical Christianity is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, crucified, dead, buried and risen again.
Because I often spot sex abusers within the walls of Christianity before others, I have often been asked how I know. There are a few things to look for.
1. People in "ministry" who name their ministry after themselves. This is rampant. This is a warning sign of something not so Godly. Steer clear. I do.
2. People who often use language that deflects negative attention off themselves. Deflecting language is very popular and often hard to recognize because it can often bring up guilt, making you feel as though you can't say anything because "after all, they admitted they are not perfect." "I'm not perfect" does not work for me.
3. Men who have strict rules and roles for women. One of the most important things a sexual predator or abuser needs to do is reign in the women in his life (or society). These men are not Christ-like. Jesus did not reign in women; He actually chose a woman to be the first to tell the story of His resurrection (and there are many, many more stories of Jesus' interactions with women, none of which are oppressive to the women). In every abusive culture, the women are oppressed in some way, hushed and given a back seat to the men. Run, run as fast as you can from such a place.
4. People who tell you how godly they are. We attended a church once where the pastor told the people how godly he was in every single service. We didn't last 6 months there. When someone touts their own perceived godliness, you can bet they have something to hide. This is another attempt to deflect negative attention from themselves. If someone tells me they are godly, I steer clear of that person and warn my family.
5. People who compare their lives to others and always come out on top. The Duggars do this often, prefacing sentences with "Other families (do this or that) but we (do something godlier)." Comparing themselves to others - and always coming out on top - is a very common tactic of abusers.
Maybe I need to make a more comprehensive list. I do know that reading and studying God's Word for oneself is a sure antidote to abuse of all kinds. We are told to study His Word, yet I find the vast majority of Christians using some study book or commentary instead of the Bible itself. I find this troubling. It's disturbing to me to see Christians using commentaries as study tools. They are not. But, that is fodder for another blog post.
There is hope for Josh in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Because of Jesus, he can own his sin and not be crushed by it.
Since they are so public and prefer to be public and since Josh included me in his statement, I think it's important to set the record straight: the Duggars do not represent Christianity. They represent a set of rules, not found in Scripture, that help them live their abusive lifestyle.
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift in Jesus Christ.