“Easy ‘forgivism’ may gloss over the terrible situation in the short term, but it reinforces to everyone that the egregious, soul-siphoning sin committed against the victim was trivial, easy to get over.”
For those of you that are unaware of this situation, TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” star family is enmeshed in scandal over the public exposure of the eldest son, Joshua Duggar, for molesting underage girls as a teenager. Chump Lady has written on this matter in her post for today (link here). This story is hitting the conservative, evangelical subculture hard as Joshua Duggar, the admitted child molester, was with the Family Research Council’s lobbying wing as a prominent figure until he recently resigned his position with FRC amid this scandal.
While this situation is not about adultery or divorce per se, I am writing about it today as it exposes similar problems I see in how the conservative, evangelical world responds to the sins of adultery or wrongful marital abandonment. The quote above comes from an excellent article by Mary DeMuth out of The Washington Post. Such pressure to forgive quickly rung bells to me as a familiar old, demonic tactic used against the victims of adultery as well. Much of the article could have been written about how faithful spouses are treated by the church following adultery/infidelity discovery. I was also struck by how the article highlighted the abuse of God’s name and grace to rug-sweep and silence the victim(s) from sharing their story. Sound familiar? And I agree with the author that these tactics are Satanic.
The Duggar situation bothers me on so many levels. It breaks my heart–both as a pastor and as a father–thinking about the girls as well as what this situation teaches them and the world about God. At least as an adult, adultery survivors stand a chance–however slim–at disentangling the lies from the truth. I know I had a hard enough time doing this even with a Yale graduate-level education. The lies and shame are hard to fight off.
I remember William Paul Young, a survivor of childhood sexual molestation on the mission field by non-family members and the author of The Shack, share in his testimony how he had to wipe his earthly father’s face off of God to see God as God truly is. I cannot help but think about his story and the challenges he faced following such abuse when considering the story about the Duggars.
And what are the demonic lies I see probably at work in situations like these:
1. You are a bad Christian girl if you are angry at your violator.
2. God, the Father, is just like an earthly father figure, Jim Bob, who failed to protect them.
3. God cares more about the image of the perpetrator than the healing of their victims.
4. These were just “mistakes” as opposed to serious sinful violations.
These are lies. God is full of wrath towards the unrighteous daily (see Psalm 7:11)! It is healthy and godly to be angry at someone who has sinned against you. That does not justify sinning back at them, though (see Eph 4:26). What is ungodly and unhealthy is treating or tolerating sin as if it really wasn’t so bad. Furthermore, God the Father cares deeply about vulnerable children warning great retribution is coming for people who hurt them (see Mt 18:6). His heart is to protect and care for the vulnerable. And God deals with sin not blaming the ones sinned against as God is Just. Finally, it sickens me as to how the instances of child molestation are minimized by the Duggars labeling them “mistakes” as opposed to sin and horrible violations of the victims. God is not confused on that number either.
Sadly, this is not the only story about vulnerable children being hurt in the evangelical subculture news cycle. The demonic world is busy. Stay posted for some further thoughts on a scandal rocking a Texas mega-church where a wife and mother obtained a marriage annulment after discovering her husband and father of their children had a history of minimally viewing child porn. The controlling church response to her is truly sickening….