Over the last few months I have read hundreds of comments regarding you and the recent scandals. I am not writing to heap more judgment on you. I am sure you have enough of that already. But of all the comments, the ones that haunt me the most are the ones from your family. My sins might be different, but my sins are just as grave, just as serious, and just as much in need of grace, mercy, truth, and forgiveness. So it is as if your own family were saying those harsh words to me, or to a sinful world desperately looking for hope.
I cannot fathom what you are going through in your life right now. I can only imagine it being incredibly painful and lonely. With all the family that you have I am wondering who your support system is right now? Who is the one who has your back no matter what? The one you turn to for help. My guess is that you feel surrounded on every side and you probably have for quite some time.
Josh Duggar, I want you to know that God has not given up on you.
You have not single handedly disgraced or shamed the Christian faith or values we hold. At least, not anymore than the rest of us have. You are perhaps a perfect example of why we need Jesus, of why we cannot do this life thing on our own. We all have fallen short of the glory of God. We all have sinned. And anyone of us Christians who claim that we have no sin are liars.
I am not sure what bondage of perfection and legalism you have found yourself shackled under, but all I can say is…me too. I have been there. Feeling as if I have to be perfect. Feeling as if there is not a safe non-judgmental soul to tell my secrets, my sins to. I get it. Even if you wanted to get help, what trusting soul do you have that will stand by you? Though you have family aplenty, who can you trust with the deepest darkest parts of your life, when there is such a level of legalistic perfection expected of you and your family?
Well, the good news is that you no longer need to hide. The good news is that the burden of legalistic perfection has been lifted from you. The good news is that those things that have now come to light can finally receive grace and mercy. Even if the only one who loves you or offers you grace is God. God loves you. God will never leave or forsake you. You may walk away from Him, but He will never walk away from you.
Josh, there are those who question your faith in Christ as a Christian, who question your salvation. But honestly, I do not. I do not question your salvation. Jesus died for people just like you and me. People who sin, who hurt people, who fail miserably, and mess up. People who would other wise have no hope. Jesus died for you and me.
My hope is to lift, even part, of the burden of shame that you might be feeling right now. Why? Because you still live with the consequences. Because hypocrites and Pharisees bind burdens on people that are too heavy to carry and do nothing at all to help those who are under so great a burden. The religious leaders, the religious people of Jesus day did this.
You called yourself a hypocrite, which means that you are already at risk of binding on yourself a burden that is too heavy to carry. God never intended for you to carry so great a burden. Josh, the yoke of Jesus is easy and His burden is light. God alone offers this unconditional grace and mercy. Not man or woman or social media. Not mom or dad, not sisters and brothers, and not your wife or in-laws. Jesus Christ is your only hope. Without Him, it will be up to you to spend the rest of your life making up for these sins, attempting to make things right between you and God and others. An attempt which will never satisfy, will never put you at ease, and give you the peace you are probably so desperately searching for right now.
Josh, my only hope for you and I and anyone else reading this, is that we begin to embrace the grace of God during this time. Truly embrace the grace that He offers. And my prayer is that this kind of grace, mercy, and love will transform us from the inside out.
We can only offer to others the kind of grace, mercy, and love that we ourselves have received. If we know God to be harsh, we will inevitably be harsh with other people. If we know God is gracious, merciful, and loving we have the capacity to be gracious, merciful, and loving to other people. We will inevitably reflect the kind of God we have come to know. So my prayer is that we know a gracious and loving God so that we might be gracious and loving to others.
Josh, God is not finished with you. No matter what happens in your life. No matter who is in your corner, or not in your corner, I want you to know that God loves you. God loves you enough to send His only Son to die on a cross for your sins. He came to set us free from the shame of sin, not that we might continue in our sins, but that we might turn away from them and into the freedom that comes from obeying Him.
God chooses foolish, broken, and sinful people, like you and me. The world needs to know this. You and I need to know this. This is just the beginning of your story, the beginning or your testimony of how God is redeeming you. How God is redeeming us all. Please, do not give up, do not lose heart, and do not lose your faith in God.
People in your world, in your life, may leave you, but God never will. Go to the only One who can save you and love you and offer you the grace that you need. Go to the throne of God’s good grace looking for His mercy and you will find it.
Your story is not over yet. God has chosen us, the despised, weak, and foolish ones.
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of this world to put to shame the mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things which are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29