Guest Post by Anonymous

May 24, 2015Not Marked

{I’m grateful today to host someone who has something important and beautiful to say about the Duggar scandal. For obvious reasons, I am keeping this post anonymous.}

The Church vs. Joshua Duggar

By Anonymous

​Social media has been abuzz since the scandal broke. At 14, the eldest Duggar male touched approximately 5 girls while they slept. His parents did not report it to the authorities but to the church elders and a state trooper friend. His secret has been revealed and the backlash is in full swing, fueled by the beliefs of his family and Josh’s own political lobbying career for a conservative, Christian organization.

​And I feel broken.

​Christians and others have called, successfully, for a cancellation to the show “19 Kids and Counting.” Josh has resigned from his position. Individuals vilify the church and conservatives in particular for this man’s sin.

​And I feel conflicted.

​The church shouldn’t cover up “mistakes.” The church is for wounded. The church needs to be a safe place for victims. The church is out of touch, out of date, delusional.
​And I begin to feel ashamed.

​While I have watched these last few days quietly, prayerfully, I revisit my own broken spots. I run my fingers over the raised scars. I am conflicted, again, between the faith I believe and the hurt of my past. I am ashamed for my own pain which refuses forgiveness for the perpetrator but willingly embraces the victim.

​When my father, my perpetrator, began to report faith and hope found in Christ, I was…enraged. A place which had been safe-the place where God and I dwell as well as my future place nearer Him still, suddenly felt invaded. I was no longer safe in my refuge. My father had invaded it. His sin stained it. And forgiveness had to be considered, again. But for myself as well as my father this time.
​Sexual sin perpetrated on another isn’t as simple as a physical wound. The spirit is invaded. The heart darkened. Layers upon layers of bruising-first the body, then the soul-happen. Healing happens in layers, too. So does forgiveness.

​The thought of sharing eternal life with my father, and with the residual brokenness of this sin, was horrifying. But so was the thought that God forgave me and maybe He forgave my father…and maybe I needed to forgive more, again, a new layer.

Paul, the Jewish hitman turned follower of Jesus & author of several letters still revered by Christians today wrote this to the Ephesians: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

God loves me more than I can imagine. He loves me more than I can love myself. He forgives those sins that I can barely forgive myself for and He forgives those that have not yet been committed. That is the cool thing, and the hard thing, about God. He is bigger than my understanding of Him. His love is wider and longer and higher and deeper than I can grasp. This love exceeds my ability to understand. And so does my challenge to love the unlovely, to forgive the unforgivable.

I wish that I were “done” forgiving my father. I wish that articles and rantings on social media about a public figure that I will never meet would not disturb me. I wish that I forgave “well.” I wish that forgiving meant it would disappear. I wish that I had nothing to forgive.

Somehow the church simply must make room for the perpetrators as well as the victims. It is human to desire to protect ourselves and keep the vilest of sinners outside. It is Jesus who welcomes them in as well. Not begrudgingly. But lovingly with a call to repentance and wholeness for all.

While Josh committed a sin that many on social media seemingly cannot reconcile with his vocal faith, I can. I have been forgiven much. I am willing to forgive much. Even if there is another layer of forgiveness to come. My God will be there then, too, walking me through it, as I claim to be both the victim and the perpetrator of sin, and I accept His love and mercy.