You were probably as shocked as I was to learn earlier this week that Josh Duggar had been accused of child molestation as a teenager. Since this news became public, Josh has resigned as Executive Director of the Family Research Council.
Josh’s actions as a 14 year old boy were inexcusable and wrong. Josh knows that. He and his father reported the incidents to the police, Josh and his victims received counseling, and Josh admits and accepts the consequences for his actions.
Once again, before we go any further, let us repeat: Josh was wrong.
For a third time, just to clear up any confusion, all together now: JOSH DUGGAR WAS WRONG. Okay? Okay.
Josh was also 14 years old. Is there a point where we say, “You messed up. You were a stupid kid. But you corrected your behavior, turned your life around, and we forgive you. Let’s move on.”
Dare I say it? Very few in the mainstream media – very few – talked about Lena Dunham’s documented molestation of her younger sister. Even less called for any type of repercussions for her actions. Dunham was wrong, but she too was a stupid kid doing stupid, wrong things. The glaring difference between her and Duggar? Dunham laughs about her childhood incidents and shows zero remorse for them whatsoever. And that’s that. The majority of society wrote off Dunham’s incident as childhood stupidity, though it was very, very wrong.
So it would seem forgiveness for childhood failures is completely possible in today’s society. Unless, of course, you’re from a Christian conservative family. Christian conservatives aren’t allowed to fail. Not at 14. Not ever.
Earlier today, I tweeted this:
Like most teenagers, Josh Duggar made mistakes. Unlike most adults, he admits his failures & accepts responsibility: http://t.co/8KAZp3fq6O
— Krystal Heath (@TheFriddle) May 21, 2015
I received many responses along these lines:
I don't know what world you're living in but "most teenagers" don't molest little girls. https://t.co/2UK5Ba2u4r
— Jennifer (@burritosandguac) May 21, 2015
While most teens may not molest other children, many are involved in what would be considered underage criminal sexual activity if caught… By 17 years old, 48% of teenagers have had sex. One out of every three teenage girls gets pregnant before the age of 20. And it doesn’t always count as consent just because you’re both under 18. One million teenage girls in America become pregnant each year. 35% of them choose to have an abortion. 17% of those who choose birth are unwed mothers who already have at least one other child!
Yes, Josh Duggar was wrong. Stupid, dead wrong. Wrong. Josh admits his wrong. He and the young girls affected by his actions will live with repercussions from those incidents for the rest of their lives. I pray for his victims and cannot imagine the affects this has had on them. It’s an incredibly sad story that unfolds far too often in today’s society. I hope you’ll pray for them, as well.
But what do we do now – 15 years later?
Is the answer to teenage failure, “OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!” because of something someone did when they were 14 years old? Kids are stupid. They’re sinful. They do bad things. Criminal things, perverse things even.
How do we handle childhood sin? Yes, they should know better, but kids mess up. If we discipline them, they suffer consequences, repent, and turn their life around… What then? Do we show them grace and give them another shot at life? Or do we simply throw stones from our glass houses?
Could it be that pointing at someone else’s sin – especially if it’s someone from a family with *gasp* standards! – makes us feel better about our own?
I also tweeted this today:
He who is without sin, cast the first stone. I hope you will join me in praying for Josh Duggar & the entire #DuggarFamily today.
— Krystal Heath (@TheFriddle) May 21, 2015
And got lots of this, in return:
@TheFriddle I definitely never molested anyone so… Here comes my stone!
— Angie Anderson (@mavenrecommends) May 21, 2015
Do we not understand what was happening in the “first stone” story? A woman was caught in the very act of adultery – which in Jesus’ culture was justifiably punishable by stoning. Jesus didn’t say, “If you’ve never committed adultery, pelt her now, as hard as you can!” Nope. It was if you’re without sin. Without any sin.
Sin is sin is sin. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Consequences are a different ball game. For example, the consequences for lying are quite different than those for murder. Josh Duggar’s sin will have a lifetime of consequences.
I’ve never molested children or shot anyone or did drugs, but guess what? I’m still a fallible human being. I’ve messed up. A lot. I too am imperfect and need forgiveness. I can’t throw that “without sin” stone. Can you?
by Krystal Heath, follow her – or send her your outraged comments – on Twitter!