The sexual sins of Josh Duggar as a teenager are currently making headlines. The oldest son of the nationally televised Duggar family was 14-years old when he allegedly “molested” some of his sisters. The purpose of this article is not to rehash the details of his sin, which have already been exposed by others.
What does the Bible say?
The purpose of this article is to reflect on the national response to these events that occurred twelve years ago. And to consider what our response should be as Christians. What does the Bible say?
According the Bible we have all sinned. In God’s eyes, we are all sinners. This includes me, you, Josh Duggar and his parents, and everyone else (including all Christians). Some people may claim they have never sinned, but that is because they do not understand what God calls sin. Most people sin many times every day.
Most people sin many times every day
Sin includes violating any of God’s commands either by doing something He forbids, or by failing to do something He commands. A partial list of God’s commands includes:
Some people may look at this list and say, “I have never killed anyone.” But Jesus raised the bar on this commandment, saying that anyone who gets angry without cause is in danger of judgment (Mt. 21-22).
Others might say they have never committed adultery because they are not married and they have never had sex with a married person. But this prohibition includes any form of sex outside of marriage, which would include premarital sex. Jesus also raised the bar on this command, saying that anyone who looks on a woman to lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt. 5:28). This would include anyone who has ever looked at pornography or had a sexual desire for someone other than their spouse.
The question is have you ever sinned at all?
Based even on the partial list above, any honest person would have to admit that they have sinned. Some people may try to rationalize their sin, or say their sin is not as bad as Josh Duggar’s sin. But the Bible says that he who is guilty of one sin is guilty of the whole law (James 2:10). The question is not whether or not you are better than someone else. The question is have you ever sinned at all?
So was Josh Duggar’s behavior toward those girls sin? Absolutely, and there is no excuse for it. But forgiveness is possible.
Forgiveness is possible
There has only been one person who ever lived without sinning, Jesus Christ. God wanted a way to forgive sins so He could restore His fellowship with people. But God is holy and righteous, so the death penalty for sin (Rom. 6:23) had to be paid. So God the Son became a man named Jesus through the virgin birth by Mary. As a man, Jesus was tempted just as we all are. But being God, He was able to resist all temptation and lived a perfect life without sin (Heb. 4:14-15).
Even though Jesus was completely righteous and lived a sin-free life, He still paid the penalty of death by His crucifixion on the cross. Because Jesus had no sin of His own to pay for, His death could pay for our sin instead. Jesus became our substitute. Jesus became sin for us so we could receive His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).
God became a perfect man to die a terrible death on the cross to pay for our sin, so we would not have to pay the eternal penalty of death in hell. So our sins can be forgiven and we can have eternal life in heaven, if we will just confess our sin and trust in Jesus as our savior.
We can have eternal life in heaven, if we will just confess our sin and trust in Jesus as our savior
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” By all reports, Josh has admitted he was wrong. He repented of his sin, got his heart right with God, and has been trying to live for God for the past 12-years.
Josh’s transformation demonstrates the power of redemption and is what the Bible says should happen. While Josh’s sins were as scarlet, he has been washed white as snow (Isa. 1:18). Although it is right to be shocked by the sins of Josh’s past, as Christians we should rejoice in his reclamation.
Josh’s life over the past 12-years gives evidence of genuine repentance and a changed life. If he confessed his sin to God, as he has said (and as confirmed by his transformed life), then God has forgiven Josh for those sins. If God has forgiven Josh Duggar, who are we to condemn him?
Let us remember the admonition of our Lord when He said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Mt. 7:1-2; Luke 6:37). We should also heed Christ’s warning that if we do not forgive others for their trespasses, then God will not forgive our trespasses (Mt. 6:15; Mark 11:26).
If God has forgiven Josh Duggar, who are we to condemn him?
The apostle Paul said, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). It appears that this happened in the case of Josh Duggar. But now the “liberal” media, the religious left, and other haters want to punish Josh 12-years after his restoration. Those who would condemn Josh and his parents should beware lest they be overtaken in faults of their own.
The words “rape” and “intercourse” are not used in conjunction with Josh Duggar’s sin. It turns out that Josh’s contact with his sisters was fully clothed. While I would not minimize the seriousness of Josh’s behavior or the effect it had on those girls, far worse things (like rapes, murders, and forced prostitution) happen every day that go unreported by the media.
Our culture actively promotes sexual exploration among children. Instead of teaching abstinence, schools hand out condoms. If a 14-year old girl gets pregnant as a result of this behavior, the school and Planned Parenthood will take her to have an abortion without informing her parents or getting their consent. Apparently our society thinks that encouraging sex among young teenagers and murdering the innocent babies that result is more acceptable than Josh’s form of sexual exploration as a 14-year old.
If Josh had been prosecuted at the time of the crime, he would have been tried as a minor. And as a result, he might have spent some time in a juvenile facility. Society normally espouses reformation as the goal for juvenile offenders. In Josh’s case, reformation occurred, which should make people happy. So why are people so upset that he and his parents were not punished?
Those who have been enlightened should not join those who walk in darkness in condemning the forgiven
This appears to be a case of our ungodly society seeking any excuse they can find to condemn Christianity. Perhaps this is more about those who live in darkness striking out at the light that hurts their eyes, than about what actually happened. Those who have been enlightened should not join those who walk in darkness in condemning the forgiven.
David was “a man after God’s own heart.” David’s life was characterized by faithfulness. He was “the sweet psalmist of Israel.” His descendants were chosen to be the royal family of Israel, and Jesus Christ was born from his lineage. Yet David coveted another man’s wife (Bathsheba), committed adultery with her, and had her husband (Uriah) killed in battle.
David confessed his sin and repented. So God forgave him. He did not lose his salvation. His fellowship with God was restored.
Yet there were consequences. Nathan the prophet told David the sword would never depart from his house, and that another man would publically commit adultery with his wives (2 Sam. 12:9-12). All of these predictions came true in David’s life. David’s family troubles included the death of the child of adultery, a son raping one of his daughters, her brother (Absalom) killing the brother who raped her. Absalom sought to kill his father to steal his throne, but was killed in battle. And after Solomon became king, he put his older brother Adonijah to death.
No doubt there were consequences for Josh Duggar and his family that we are not even aware of. They are certainly suffering the consequences now.
As Christians we need to remember that we are in a spiritual war between God and Satan, good and evil, and light and darkness
Nathan told David that his sin had “given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” (2 Sam. 12:14). This is also happening today with the Duggar family. The sins Josh committed 12-years ago have given God’s enemies occasion to blaspheme God and faithful Christians today.
The current uproar over the sin of Josh Duggar highlights that a person’s sin often reflects poorly on others as well. Just as Josh’s sin makes his parents and family look bad in the eyes of the world, so any sin in the life of a believer dishonors Jesus, our Heavenly Father, and other Christians.
As Christians we need to remember that we are in a spiritual war between God and Satan, good and evil, and light and darkness (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3-4). One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to tempt God’s children and then accuse them if they sin (Rev. 12:10). So we need to be sober and vigilant. Because our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8).
We should “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
We need to live lives that are beyond reproach so “that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:7-8).