Last winter several women asked me what I thought about the TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting. Truthfully, I hadn’t watched the program. So one day at home I binge-watched about six or seven episodes in a row! I hadn’t planned to spend that time in front of the TV, but I got hooked on the show. I wanted to see Jessa Duggar get married.
I had been hesitant to write about the family because I wasn’t sure if their lifestyle was genuine or simply another made-for-TV reality show. I think that’s why I watched those episodes. I found them entertaining, and sensed a genuine faith in the mom, the dad, and the daughter that was getting married. In my blog post last April I wrote, “The most fascinating and compelling part of this television show is that while a person is watching a large family live their daily lives they are also watching the Lord at work in those lives. Every episode I watched I noticed how the various members of the Duggar family portrayed the love of God.”
A few months later Josh Duggar was in the news for having molested his sisters and another girl. A few months after those charges, he confessed to marital infidelity, and recently his name was listed as an Ashley Madison website user. It’s been reported that he checked himself into a Christian treatment program to get help with his issues. The media has been quick to discuss the controversy.
This blog post is not for the purpose of rendering an opinion on Josh Duggar—I will gladly leave that job to the Lord. He is the only one who is able to judge and discipline with perfection. I did have a few thoughts on the subject after finishing a morning walk.
First, there are no perfect families this side of heaven. Everyone in the family has made mistakes and sometimes one member of the family is responsible for the lion’s share. Some families have very little “drama” but I don’t know any families that have no drama. That is true for immediate family, extended family, and even the church family. Jessa Duggar Seewald, Josh’s sister, used this verse in a recent Facebook post: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Every family has rough times because families are composed of people who sin. Thankfully, God is in the business of redemption.
Second, it is always easier to act like a strong Christian who loves God instead of disciplining ourselves to walk in the Spirit, and become strong. A lot of us were taught how to act or behave in church, and what a strong witness is supposed to look like. Parents and teachers were well intentioned but at some point our witness must become something more authentic. A Christian witness is not genuine if it is manmade. Genuine spiritual fruit must be rooted in and produced from the Holy Spirit. We all need to assess our souls on occasion. Is our witness produced by our close relationship with the Spirit of God or is it more of an educated act?
Finally, Christians will always be found in the middle of a controversy. Jesus was too. Josh has been labeled a hypocrite and has openly agreed that label is deserved. It will be interesting to see what he chooses to become in the years ahead. A person can act better or a person can do what it takes to become better. According to the Bible, Josh Duggar is no better and no worse than King David himself. I hope Josh responds to his scandal like King David responded to his. He may have a powerful ministry as a result of God’s redemption.
One night Jesus was eating with the tax collectors and the sinners. The Pharisees were shocked that he chose to associate and fellowship with “those people.” The words of Christ still speak to the religious hypocrisy of our day. Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:12-13).
Who needs the Great Physician today? Or—a better question—who doesn’t?