(Note: Since the writing of this post, it was revealed that Josh Duggar spent the last several years seeking out sexual favors and cheating on his wife.  I was obviously wrong about Josh experiencing a complete redemption in his life of secret sin.  I was desperate to believe the best about him, but obviously either he faked the whole thing to maintain the “face” of a relationship with Jesus or he fell back into sin, either way, the Spirit and truth of this blog post still apply.  There is hope in Jesus’ Name and because of His shed blood…even for the biggest of hypocrites (of whom I am all too easily chief at times).  The forgiveness promised in the Bible casts our sins as far as the east is from the west.   I am heartbroken over sins destruction and the damage path that it leaves behind.  Praying for this family as they pick up the pieces…may they see the Savior more clearly and may God be glorified somehow in the ashes that only He can turn to beauty.)

I am wondering as I am typing if I should even write this.  What am I but one more voice in a tumult of shouting back and forth?  Maybe I’m doing this for selfish purposes like to finally kick this thing off of my chest or maybe I am doing this hypocritically because I fully believe that this part of the Duggar’s life and history is none of our business…you can see my dilemma. Whatever the reason, I needed to write today.

I will warn you, in my eyes, the real criminals here are not the Duggars.  The real criminals are the people who went to great lengths to make this a story.  The ones who would publicly tear down and humiliate a family who has opened their lives and homes to the world.  The ones who would crucify 21 people (most of whom are children) and leave them weeping in the dust to make themselves feel better.

This wasn’t even the enemy coming as an angel of light.  This scandal was the enemy attacking with every bit of his true nature.  From the hate and jealousy and ugliness that he used to get that police report to the evil and revenge and greed that he used to leak it, he didn’t even try to hide it.  He brought out all the guns on this one and he didn’t have to search far to find people who would use them.

There have been wolves waiting to devour the wholesome face of the Duggar family…waiting in the wings all slobbery with their tongues hanging out…waiting to kill the good for good.  People who had been offended by the Duggar’s values and the fact that they were displayed and accepted so willingly.  People who are so deceived that they call evil good and good evil.  They were licking their chops and waiting for this to break.  And when it did they laughed with glee… YES! Victory.  These are the people yelling the loudest “See.  SEE!  We told you there was something wrong with these people.  They are just as vile as we are.”

And surely there were also some who wanted to believe in a perfect family…who idolized…who watched in droves as two girls planned weddings and felt a thrill of romance at the fact that they had never kissed a man before their husband…who desire to find a purity that goes beyond the norm of this world…who are now disgusted and disappointed because sin runs deep and it’s talons dig in wherever there is opportunity. It isn’t a respecter of godly families…no, be enlightened to the fact that it seeks out the good to destroy it.  And now “19 Kids and Counting” is no longer a fairy tale, so it’s no longer good TV.  Now the Duggars are only good for tabloid entertainment.

Then there are those who immediately jumped on this for all the lessons we can learn from it…how we can learn from Josh Duggar’s mistakes…how we can learn from his parent’s mistakes…how we can learn from the mistakes in their beliefs…how we should take up the defense of his victims…how and when we can be forgiven of sin…on and on and on until my head is spinning and honestly I just feel sick.  Turn off all the voices. PLEASE. I know…see how hypocritical I am? Telling everyone else to be quiet while I speak.  There’s my dilemma again.

But I’ve read exactly ONE blogger that talked about grace and how the Bible works in reference to this situation.  ONE.  And I read a lot.

Yes, Church, we need to take responsibility for our mistakes and own up to our failures and Josh and his parents did, which is why Josh did not grow into a pedophile. We are talking about sins here that were cast as far as the east is from the west a LONG time ago.  We are talking about a young boy who came and CONFESSED to his parents.  That’s how this all came to light…through Josh’s willingness to expose darkness and fight it. We are talking about a demonic set up here that illegally leaks a police report about minors in a situation that happened 12 years ago to a TABLOID.

And this steals our hope.  It sucks it up like a vacuum cleaner trying to rid the good out of an evil world.  Because if Josh can’t be forgiven and his sin be forgotten after he put it under the blood, then neither can mine.  If he must always be called and labeled a pervert and child molester, then maybe there isn’t hope for me either. If his sisters lives have been irreparably ruined for all time by the mistakes of someone else then maybe many of our lives are beyond repair because of the choices of someone else, that doesn’t give hope.  That steals it.

I was molested as a child. I bet several of you reading were…some of you may have even molested others.  I think the definition of molestation encompasses a good amount of behavior that we all have been privy to.  I didn’t even really consider my experiences molestation until this story broke because it wasn’t actual sex, but I was certainly preyed upon by young boys.  Boys similar in age to Josh, but not nearly as honest with themselves.  

One was a boy who belonged to a family we used to visit when I was young.  Our parents would send us all to play upstairs and he would always insist on playing “house”.  He would tell me to crawl into this little dark cubbie hole in his room and then he would say “I’ll be the daddy and you be the mommy.  That means you lay down on the bottom and I’ll be on top.”  Then he would molest (evidently that is the right word) me over my clothes.

Another boy who was the son of some of my parent’s really good friends (these two boys were in no way related) would lure me out to the woods when he came over or into a shed or any other place dark and secret and he would make me pull down my pants while he pulled down his…you get the idea.  One time he brought a friend along.  One time I even pretended that a bee had stung me just to get away from him. But I never told.  He always told me not to tell or I would get in really big trouble.  I was afraid and ashamed and oh so glad when we moved and our parents were no longer friends.

The funny thing is that I remember his name clearly… this second young man.  So after this story broke, I looked him up on Facebook.  He is there just as clear as day.  He is divorced and has at least one daughter.  I could easily “out” him or confront him.  I could put fear and doubt into people’s mind about what he might be doing to his daughter.  I could maybe even change his life with one stroke of the keyboard.

He has never apologized to me.  He has never suffered any consequences, at least not from society…no counseling sessions that I know of.  I have no idea who else he might have done the same things to or what secrets he still has, but you know what?  I don’t care.  I now pray for him.  I hope that he will find Jesus. I wish him the best.  There is no hope at all in revenge or retribution.  The only weapon I will use against him is grace.  I forgive him. I forgave him a long time ago.  That forgiveness allowed me to move on in my life and to be where I am today.  God’s amazing grace has healed the wounds and set me free from what the enemy meant for evil.  I don’t have a need to expose this man to hatred, ridicule, or suspicion.

Maybe that is why this Duggar thing is such a hot issue for me…why my heart grieves for this family… Here they are a family that desires to glorify Jesus and now every time they leave their house, they face people who know there deepest, darkest life moments…I simply cannot imagine.  To now have to raise their children and grandchildren in a world where every mind will be tempted to attack and judge them…incomprehensible.  And all for what? Because they gave us all a front seat into their godly lives for a while?  Because they accepted the grace given to them when they took this to the authorities and Josh was not arrested?  Because they were naive enough to think that Josh’s rehabilitation and redemption were signs that they could go on with their lives and still be witnesses of God’s grace and love? Because they fully believe that God does not even remember Josh’s sin and that he can go on to be an example to the believers?

I’m sorry, isn’t that the Gospel???  Isn’t everything that we live for tied up in that belief?  Don’t we stake our very lives on the fact that God forgives sin and forgets it as well?  Because when Josh turned from sin to Christ at 15 and committed his life and decided to follow Jesus, he only joins a very long list of saints in the Bible who did the same.  The only comment from the Church on this situation should have been…”that’s under the blood.  Come back at us when you have something that exists.”

But wait, certainly God does not forgive child molesters as easily as he does the rest of us.  I mean, didn’t he say “hang a millstone around their neck and cast them into the depths of the sea”?  This is what we really want to believe…that there is nothing but punishment for sins like this.  No grace. He doesn’t forgive and He can’t heal that. What were the Duggars thinking?  They should have snatched that boy up and threw him into prison to rot.

Don’t results ever speak for themselves?  I keep hearing how the Duggars didn’t do the right thing…how they didn’t handle it properly…how long it took them to contact authorities.  However, there was not another incident after the 3 month stint away from their home with a man who had experience in helping young men with these kinds of issues. Everybody is mad because their approach worked?  It might not have been conventional but looking at all we know, it worked.  He stopped.  All the family members received counseling from a licensed therapist and they all moved on.

But even if they hadn’t…even if one of those Duggar girls is still in pain and still hurting from this, does it do any good for a tabloid to print her story as front page news?  For us to call her brother horrible names?  For her to watch him lose his job and see his family written off as sewage for still standing for beliefs?  For her to see her parents questioned and blamed and denigrated until they are dirt beneath the feet of us all? For her to have to wonder every time she walks out the door what people are thinking and watch all of her siblings do the same? How can we sit here and contribute in any way to these conversations?  We are drowning any hope that these girls had that this was over.

So in case anyone still wonders what the enemies agenda is here, let me reveal his true intent.

He has come to kill hope.

The hope that forgiveness is enough.  The hope that we can receive grace instead of what we deserve.  The hope that our past can be left in the past.  The hope that people will think the best of us after they have seen so much of our best.  Not only are the Duggars under attack, but hope is too.

It’s under the blood, Josh.  The enemy can try to pull up things from the bottom of the ocean, but he won’t succeed.

It’s under the blood, girls. Your purity is restored.  Your forgiveness guarantees it.  You are beautiful and strong and so beloved.

It’s under the blood, Jim and Michelle.  You followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit and you have seen your son redeemed.  I applaud you.

It’s under the blood, Church.  Old things CAN pass away and ALL things can become new…even the worst of the worst.

See, the enemy can come after hope with every single one of his big guns, but this story is not over.  For it is written…

Hope never disappoints.  Hope wins.