Josh Duggar and the nature of repentance

Following the recent revelation he had, as a teen, molested a number of girls–including two of his sisters–former reality TV personality and “family values” advocate, Josh Duggar, has been outed as a client of the adultery facilitation dung-heap, Ashley Madison.

Admission of guilt to the former resulted in the loss of his job. Ramifications of the latter have not yet been determined. One assumes it will not involve hanging sheetrock, though his wife may already have hammer in hand.

Scripture warns what we sow, we reap. The roots of sin run both deep and wide. Despite possible prayers for crop failure the young Duggar faces long rows and many acres of bad fruit. The harvest can be a compelling teacher; hopefully he’ll be attentive. To that end we pray.

It is easy to think our “Christian duty” fulfilled in castigating the wrongdoer, since neither fingers nor tongues wag as comfortably to the mirror. However, there are, for all of us who follow Jesus, a few lessons to be learned.

Getting caught is good. Some note Duggar only admitted his actions after the deeds came to light. By extension his remorse is ajudged as bogus. This may be the case, but not necessarily so.

In John’s gospel we read of the woman “caught in adultery, in the very act.” She (and her unnamed partner who, for all we know, is still running free) surpassed an Ashley Madison membership by a factor of two at least. In her case, though, being caught led to genuine repentance, not contrived tears and runny mascara. Whether Duggar’s repentance is authentic only God knows, but ours can be.

The bigger your platform the greater the spectacle of a public revelation. Or, as the old saying reminds us, “The bigger they are the harder they fall.” The general interest of the adoring public becomes the prurient interest of the outraged masses with each revelation. Better to be humble, step aside, repent, get help and let the Kingdom work proceed without tarnish. That, or instead of the 15-year-old boy you solicited for sex, his sketchy hotel room has a news camera and reporter full of questions. And cops.

True repentance comes clean about everything, not simply the one thing. The repentant heart takes the opportunity to reveal what remains hidden rather than pushing it farther into life’s basement. True repentance is sorrowful for God dishonoring sin, not for its momentary interruption.

Sin flourishes in the dark. Repentance responds to the light of the gospel shone into every corner and crevice. Truth reveals and provides the opportunity for excision. It is the height of folly to remove cockroaches from the kitchen while harboring termites in the foundation.

Repentance is one of God’s good gifts. It is His goodness that leads us to it. It is the way of escape from the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us then come boldly before the throne of grace where we will find grace to help in the time of our own need. Such a time is better now than later.

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Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

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