These words have been ruminating in my mind since Thursday, so in order to get some good sleep tonight I need to write them down.
First of all, months ago when the news broke that Josh Duggar molested younger siblings among others, there seemed to be an almost giddy delight in our media, as if to say, “We knew it, we knew you were flawed, we got you!” I can only imagine the maniacal laughter when once again his name was disgraced among the fallen in the Ashley Madison hack. No longer could his fans claim anything but his guilt. Those who hoped that he’d been rehabilitated from his 13 year old self, hung their heads in error. But here’s the deal, as much as we use screens to separate us from the fact that celebrities are PEOPLE who live and breathe and think and emote, they are still just that-PEOPLE! Let us keep in mind that while Josh Duggar was caught red-handed in this mess, he is married to a woman who is likely devastated, 1 month postpartum, and a real person. He has parents, and siblings, and they are hurting and shocked and heartbroken. He victimized (years ago) 5 young girls…who will live with that knowledge forever. There are human hearts at stake here. Yeah, Josh Duggar is a hypocrite, but there are hurting people involved in this, that we should be respectful of.
In America, we love scandal and we have made sport of watching people fall from grace. And it’s sick. I’m tired of it. It’s not kind. In the media’s joy over celebrity breakups and sex changes and pornography addictions and “are they pregnants,” we forget, these people are REAL. We have lost our compassion. We have lost our empathy. It’s not edifying. It’s not how we would teach our children to behave on the play ground. Reality tv is a cesspool for this type of behavior. And whether you think reality tv stars are asking for it or not (in that they choose to expose their lives on camera nationally), it is YOUR choice to watch it and pay them their millions.
It is up to us to say enough is enough. We won’t endorse this anymore.
Secondly, in no way do I condone Josh Duggar. In fact, I am appalled and disgusted by his actions and even his apology, which let’s not forget, happened after/not before he was caught. Even with Jesus living in my heart, I have a hard time extending grace to him as I think of his precious wife, with a NEW BABY AT HOME. I cannot fathom. I CANNOT FATHOM. However, we must remember, that sometimes offended people offend. Hurt people hurt. We will never know (nor is it ANY of our business) if Josh Duggar himself, is a victim, but lest we cast stones, remember we don’t always know every part of the story (even though the part we do know is awful)*.
Finally, to the church. We have fought with fervor (and unabashed judgment) legislation we feel contrary to Scripture (something Jesus never did, by the way). But we have ignored those in our midst. We have not fostered a culture of vulnerability and accountability and brokenness. Even more shocking to me, we have remained relatively quiet on the subject of pornography. Is it because we don’t see what is actually happening? Or more likely, because many in our flock are themselves, quietly addicted to this crime without a victim? I tell you-it has a victim. She is someone’s daughter, he is someone’s son. Pornography is made at the expense of someone’s soul. The addict has a wife or husband, and their marriages are often devastated by it. Pornography objectifies people. IT MAKES HUMAN BEINGS INTO OBJECTS. It is not ok. Church. Where are your picket signs for this? Are your knees calloused for the men and women trapped in the pornography industry, and for the people in your midst addicted to it? Are your arms open to help a brother or sister heal without judgment? Where are your lobbyists and your blogs and your new political parties fighting this-the underbelly of our culture?
We can all judge Josh Duggar and whoever else’s name is on that MASSIVE dump. But let us take a lesson from Josh himself, and remove the plank from our own eye before judging the world**. We are all one step away from a moral breakdown ourselves. By the grace of God we go on.
*Whether or not he is a victim himself, does not EXCUSE his actions. WE are all accountable for what we choose to do with our pasts. However, I believe compassion looks at the entire narrative of one’s life.
**More specifically, what I mean here is that J.D. espoused family values at the same time being unfaithful to his wife. This is what Jesus means by looking at the speck in our neighbor’s eye, while ignoring the plank in our own eye. If we would all focus on ourselves, and our own mess, perhaps this world would be a better place.