Do Justly, Love Mercy

I don’t know any of the Duggars personally, but I have met a couple of them at camps and conferences throughout the years. Just last month I sat in a session and listened to both Josh and the Duggar parents speak. Throughout the week at ATI regional in Big Sandy, I watched the Duggars and was thankful that I didn’t have the kind of media attention that they have. A large percentage of America is looking to the Duggar family for insight into how the whole Christian, conservative homeschooler thing works. I don’t think I could hold up under that kind of scrutiny.

As I observed the family, I noticed that all of the children seemed very polite to everyone. They act just like ordinary people, not stars that have been on the face of multiple popular magazine covers and have their own reality TV show. They handle fame well.

In a way, I felt sorry for them. They don’t get to live normal lives like you and me. Everything they do is magnified and analyzed.

They are constantly being watched by the world.

At the same time, I think it would be pretty dang cool to be known by so many people, but I don’t think it would be worth it. That would be too much of a burden for me.

But the Duggars don’t get to decide whether or not everyone knows them. They don’t get to decide if the pros of fame outweigh the cons. This is a platform that God has given them, so they just have to do their best to stand for Christ in a world that is so hostile to Jesus, the family, and blessing of children.

When I first heard the news about Josh, I was shocked. Then disappointed.

I haven’t read much on Josh Duggar and the opinions that people now hold of him. It literally turns my stomach to think about how the LGBT must be rejoicing that they have something else to hold against Christianity. I don’t want to read anything else about it. What I know is enough.

I read a comment by one woman who said that this is an example of why children should not be homeschooled. They need adults in their life, aside from parents to help deal with these types of situations.

As if nothing of this sort has happened by someone that attended public school.

It seems as though the world thinks that Christians should be perfect. It seems as though they think that we claim Christianity because we think we are better or because we are somehow above and beyond humanity and sin.

I wonder why the world assumes that “church people” are never supposed to mess up.

Have we been carrying the message that Christians are better than the rest of the world? Because we aren’t. But it seems like every time, even in small situations, when Christians sin, the world is very quick to jump and say “AHA! See, you’re no different than us.”

And they’re right; we aren’t. We are just like the world. The difference is in Christ, not us. And we should proclaim that truth. We are nothing. Christ in us is our only worth. That should be what we’re proclaiming.

Then, when we do mess up, instead of the world thinking that Christianity doesn’t work because – “look, they mess up just like everyone else!”, it will become a witness to the great forgiveness that God gives to His children. Even though we do mess up, He still loves us. Even though we do sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us.

We cling to Christ not because we are perfect, but because He can one day make us perfect. Because when we do make mistakes, He is the only One that can forgive and cleanse us. Until then, we are all sinners. And we all daily, hourly, moment by moment, need forgiveness, grace and mercy.

We need to realize that no one is perfect. Josh’s mistakes are not a result of Christianity, homeschooling, or even poor parenting. They are a result of the depravity that resides in every one of us.

For ALL fall short of the glory of God. We are all sinners, just like Josh. I am just as guilty of displeasing God as he is. We are all vile sinners in need of the grace of God. We all need Christ’s saving power to cleanse us from our unrighteousness.

Why does no one judge Paul of the Bible? He murdered so many Christians just for following Christ. He tore up so many families. He took fathers away from their children to kill them. He stoned people. He burned them at stake. He had a fierce hatred for Christianity. But we don’t ever think about that. God saved him and we forget his past. Paul was repentant, as Josh is, and he then went on to write several books of the Bible. Do we discredit Romans because Paul was a murderer? No. God forgave him, so we have no place to judge him. We recognize him to be the great man of God that he was.

What about David? He WAS a Christian. He was known as the man after God’s own heart. Even after he wrote several Psalms, he committed murder and adultery. David killed a man because he wanted to take his wife, all while claiming to follow Christ. Do we remember David by his sins? No. David was repentant, and God forgave Him. One of the most beautiful books of the Bible was written by this murderer. Do we ignore that book because of the past of the author? No. We recognize that God is able to use even the worst of sinners to accomplish great things for His glory.

God delights in making the worst the best. We cannot be angry when someone else sins because they are not sinning against us, they are sinning against God. And it is his place to judge and punish.

At the same time, mercy does not mean “to brush under the rug” or cover up. There is a place for justice.

Some people want all justice. And some want all mercy.

But God is both. He is both just and merciful.

Some people are saying “forgive and forget”, or all mercy. But this is something that should be known. It IS a big deal. It can’t be all mercy.

Then so many people want all justice. They are happy that this has come to the attention of the media and they want Josh’s deeds to be known. They delight in his humiliation and want him to pay for the pain that he has caused so many people. And that’s wrong, too.

He is paying for his actions. Because of his fame, he is paying a high, high cost for his mistakes. All of America knows. His failures are the talk of today.

I think Josh has received enough justice. Out of all the minors that committed what he has, he has probably easily suffered the most consequences. How many 14 year old boys have done this? Now how many have been publicly exposed to the entire nation?

My whole being aches for the Duggar family and this hardship that they are all now facing. His wife. His children. His parents. His siblings. They are all hurting right now. How Josh must be broken and how he must wish he could go back and change things.

But he can’t. He must live with this for the rest of his life.

I can’t imagine how I would respond if the world knew of all of my short comings. I would want people to forget or look over them. I would want to hide.

How disgusting sin is. How painful and destructive.

How thankful I am that I have a way to escape from the bondage of sin and have marvelous victory through Christ.

Instead of judging Josh and the Duggar family for the sin that is present in all of our hearts, I want to focus on Christ and marvel at His power to forgive even the dirtiest of sinners.

I want to stand in awe of His amazing grace that can wash away every stain, no matter the size.

I want to be humbled by this news and realize that I am just as capable of any sin just as Josh is. No matter how famous we are, no matter how influential or “good” we are, we are never above sin. As long as we are on this earth, we can never be perfect.

I so look forward to the day when there will be no pain or sadness. When sin no longer lingers to destroy us. When we will be made perfect through Christ. I cannot wait to see Jesus face to face and worship Him for eternity without fear of sin.

“And you He made alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not that of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Ephesians 2:1-9

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