My Facebook feed has recently exploded with news about the scandal surrounding Josh Duggar. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has a link to the latest news article, and everyone has a pretty strong opinion about what everyone involved in the situation should do.
And it seems to me that all of them are missing the point.
The victims are more important than the abuser. Long before questions about the status of a reality TV show, or the reputation of a family, or the job of a B-list celebrity enter our minds, we should be asking about the victims. Have they been given access to quality counselling? Is there any way to protect them from media attention? How have they been able to cope with the trauma of this abuse?
Rather than posting a “I stand with the Duggars!” picture, or a status berating TLC for promoting this family, wouldn’t it be a much better idea to boldly proclaim, “I stand with the weak, with the innocent, with the abused”? Whatever happens to a TV show isn’t that big of a deal. Whether Josh Duggar should have resigned or not doesn’t actually matter all that much. How this affects the public perception of Jim Bob is very trivial. There are much, much weightier issues here. How can we, as a society, support and affirm the value of victims of sexual abuse, both these particular women and millions of less famous women?
Isn’t that really a more important topic for conversation?
I hold no ill will against the Duggar family. I do not rejoice to see them publicly shamed. I’m not glad they have been caught up in a scandal. I do not wish to see their family name drug through the dirt. I really, honestly wish the very best for them. I pray that this trial brings them closer. I pray God gives them wisdom, and love for each other.
But I think there is an important lesson to be learned here. And while I hesitate to write this, fearing that my words will cause unnecessary pain for their family, I feel compelled to point out a very real danger; a danger that is illustrated perfectly by this situation.
You cannot shelter you family from sin.
The Duggar lifestyle–a lifestyle encouraged by IBLP teaching and practice–is designed to protect. Protect the hearts of children. Protect from the evils of rock music. Protect teens from lust. Protect girls from creating unhealthy soul ties. Protect young people from temptation.
Don’t associate with the “worldly” youth group at church.
Don’t go to movie theaters.
Don’t listen to pop music on the radio.
Don’t allow co-ed swimming.
Don’t separate the family for Sunday school.
Don’t watch TV.
Don’t go to college.
Don’t study secular thinkers.
Don’t become romantically involved with someone without your parent’s approval.
But it doesn’t work. Sin is in our hearts. Sin is not something outside, it’s not something that seeps into your life through movies, or music, or friends, or white flour, or unhealthy soul ties. It’s in the very center of your being. And no matter how protected you are, no matter how far you remove yourself from evil influences, that sin will still be there. Rules, boundaries and lifestyle choices will never remove it. Only Christ can do that.
Pray for the victims. Pray for the Duggars. Pray for Josh.
And seeing this terrible, painful situation, please understand this important truth;
No lifestyle, no rules, no pattern of family management will ever remove sin from someone’s heart.