Publicly shaming someone or a group of people for their choice is reprehensible and NOT Christlike.
As Believers we mistakenly tend to mix up the idea of “fighting” for a cause with permission to shame or belittle others for their choices instead of realizing people make what we see as bad choices based on their own unbelief or misbelief of who Christ is. Instead of shaming someone on social media (or anywhere) in the name of our cause or belief (that we support in the name of Jesus) perhaps we should step back and love them as Jesus would…with care and respect…even if they aren’t loving and caring for our cause or believing the same as we do. This can be attributed to many hot button issues in the media today, but today I want to focus on one area; Adultery/pornography.
It’s easy to point a finger at a high profile professed Believer who does wrong, a Believer like Josh Duggar. But what if you were married to him? How would your response be different? Would it be different?
When I read Josh Duggar’s statement admitting that he not only struggled with a pornography addiction, but also was unfaithful to his wife and children, in addition to his wrong-doing as a young man I felt ill. I felt sick… and sad… and angry… and relieved. My reaction wasn’t one of gloating or demanding action against him. My reaction was mourning. Mourning for his family. His wife. His children. Mourning for all he has yet to potentially lose from the admission.
Why mourning for this stranger; this family I have never met?
We mourn for those whose hurt has been our own hurt.
Several years ago my own husband confessed his on-going struggle with pornography. Although his sin was nothing by comparison to Duggar’s; sin is sin and it wounded me greatly. During the time my husband confessed to me we were heavily involved in a marriage ministry with our church and had just arrived home after an evening of presenting and ministering to other married couples within the body. This admission left me reeling and quite shocked as my mind had difficultly quantifying the fact that the same man who so gently and genuinely loved his family was the same man who now was admitting to me that he not only been unfaithful in our marriage, but he had also been lying to me in so many ways using God’s truth as a wall and ministry as his mask. I knew he had Christ’s desire to love others and teach them God’s Word out of the abundance of love he has received in Christ…yet there was still this perfecting that had exposed his secret sin. Jason came to me by his own admission due to an overwhelming, spine frosted, heart lava explosion of conviction from the Holy Spirit that I needed to know this dark truth he had been stealthily hiding from me. This admission following only a few short years of restoring the near undoing of our covenant promises due to lies and unmet expectations.
The only thing that saved my heart from turning away from Jason was the unexpected, mammoth sized, dose of grace Jesus fire-bombed within my spirit just moments after Jason uttered the last syllables of confession. This swift, decisive, and overpowering command to forgive and extend grace to Jason assured and empowered me to love Jason even in that moment. Christ whispered affirmation of the Holy Love He was calling me to. He reminded me of the courage it took for Jason to self-admit his sin and willingness to lose everything in order to know freedom from his addiction of pornography. What Satan has meant for evil Christ used for good as it strengthened our marriage bond and has given us testimony of marriage redemption.
I can’t say if Josh Duggar’s public admission was the result of being exposed or if he is truly repentant. It really isn’t any of our business. It is a matter that will have to be painfully dealt with within his family. But in the grace of Christ we can all hope they will experience the beginnings of love and redemption of truth. I can’t pick up a stone and neither can you. We have our own hypocrisy and pharasitical inconsistencies of truth to deal with. AND I will be the first in line to admit I struggle with ALL the hard topics.
The Church is messy. It has flaws because it’s people are flawed in their belief of who they really are in Christ. It’s sometimes easier to love the imperfections of the outsider of the Church than it is to love the professed Believer whose imperfections and sin become revealed. The predisposition of our religiosity prevents us from admitting that these same people are you and me-more like us than any of us would care to confess. It is our identity in Christ, and His personification of love, that empowers us to love those whose behavior we have wrongfully deemed undeserving of love.
Angry Believers don’t create change, but loving Believers are the change this fallen world is in need of…the question is not will we love, but will we love without condition? Will we love out of our understanding of Christ’s love for us or out of our limited capacity of the flesh?
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
“They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.”
“Love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. It does not anger easily. It is not proud, rude, conceited, self-seeking, and keeps no record of wrongs. It doesn’t delight in evil…but it does rejoice in truth. It protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love doesn’t fail.”