The news about Josh Duggar was shocking to say the least. For those of you who haven’t heard, the firstborn son from the popular TV show 19 Kids and Counting was charged with molesting young girls, including some of his sisters, when he was a teen. This is heartbreaking news on so many levels.
First and foremost, it is heartbreaking for the young girls he molested. This can’t be stated emphatically enough. No matter how much counseling he has received or how repentant he is, nothing will ever take away the fact that he affected these girls’ lives in ways that can never be erased.
On Christian sites, many are defending Josh by saying that he is forgiven because of his faith. And, yes, our God is a God of mercy and forgiveness (thank goodness!) but that does not provide us with a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. We are still held accountable for our actions here on earth (read Romans 13:1-7).
The other thing Christians are saying in Josh’s defense is that he was targeted because of his faith. Sure, I believe that to be true. I believe that people were working very hard to find dirt on the Duggar family ever since the show first aired. And, I’m sure there was jubilation when this news came to light. But, that does not erase his crimes. His actions were reprehensible and we cannot afford to ignore that fact.
Here’s what else hit me hard in all this mess: This is heartbreaking to those of us who love God and want to share that love with the world so that many more might be saved.
For so many viewers, 19 Kids and Counting provided the only opportunity they had to see a family who believes in God. They got to see a family who prayed and worshipped together. They were exposed to Biblical values and by the number of fans, it appeared that many were touched by this family’s simple faith.
So, Josh’s acts become even more catastrophic. When you publicly announce that you are a believer, you carry a huge burden of responsibility. Just the little blogs I write fill me with fear that I will somehow do or say something that would turn someone away from God. To me, that is perhaps the ultimate sin. So, what did the news of Josh’s transgressions do to those who were just beginning to consider a relationship with the Lord? Did they feel deceived? Did they take this as “proof” that God doesn’t exist or that Christians are all frauds?
There were five or six victims mentioned in the news reports. And they have been affected beyond what most of us can possibly imagine. But in addition, there are many more victims of Joshua’s sinful acts. In reality, they probably can be counted in the thousands. They consist of all the people who had a tender, new faith that was crushed by this awful news. That breaks my heart.
There isn’t anything about this situation that isn’t just plain tragic and all I can do is pray. And so, I pray for his victims and I pray that Josh truly is a new man who will never abuse again. And, I pray for all those who are considering a relationship with God and who will be tempted to turn away because of Joshua’s actions. May God be with them all.