I wasn’t planning to write a post about Josh Duggar.
In fact, I’ve deliberately been trying to avoid the subject. Not only have I already met my “blog post quota” for the week, but I wasn’t planning on mentioning it because it truly bothers me how quickly and easily bad news spreads across the internet. Media (and those of us who partake in it) loves exposing people’s sins and flaws and gossiping until they’re out of breath. And to be honest, I’m just not a fan of that kind of meaningless chatter.
But as I read the headlines about this young born-again Christian celebrity being spotlighted for his marital infidelity and pornography addiction, my heart grieves. Of course my heart grieves for him and for his family, but most of all – and far above and beyond Josh Duggar – it grieves because I’m awakened to the reality of what this situation brings to light:
1. Born-again Christians are not immune to sin of any kind.
I don’t know why that’s so surprising to so many of us, but reading the comments on the most recent headlines people are filled with shock and disbelief. Maybe I’m jaded, because as a professional counselor, I see sin at its worst, and watch it destroy lives and hearts in the process. The thing to remember is this, just because you’re a Christian, doesn’t mean you are healthy. If you think these kind of things are not happening in your church, then your eyes are blind to the reality of the world we live in, and the enemy that is out to steal, kill, and destroy. We have the responsibility to choose health and healing in our lives, and that’s something that Jesus Christ empowers us to do, but never forces us to do.
2. The Church at large needs to stop giving out band-aids and start giving life-support.
If we keep in mind our capacity toward sin, and the enemy’s tactics to steal, kill, and destroy us, we need to realize that this isn’t a walk in the park. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll realize that God’s word says that we’re in a full-out battle against our souls!! We don’t need anymore “motivational talks” from the pulpit. What we need is Spirit-filled, life-giving education and preparation to battle the constant ammunition that is coming our way. We need to learn how to put on the armor of God in practical and tangible ways. We need to stop avoiding and start talking about the hard topics because our silence is destroying us. Let’s start preaching about affairs, about divorce, about pornography, about abuse, and about all the other hard issues. Let’s stop passing out band aids to our congregation when they are dying right before our eyes. We’re so afraid of “losing” people from our church, that in our silence, we end up allowing them to lose their lives instead. Let’s repent, confess, learn, heal and grow together as a body of believers. Because united, we have the power to personally overcome and completely obliterate the enemy!!
3. In this VERY moment, each one of us has sin to take ownership of.
One problem I find in making this issue about “Josh Duggar” is that we use him as the scapegoat. In our fear and shame, we’d rather look at and talk about the sins of others rather than turn the mirror on our own hearts and lives. So what about YOU? What is the enemy using to ravage your life and your family right now? Is it your anger? Is it your lust? Is it your insecurity? What do you struggle with behind closed doors, when no one is looking? Let’s get real with where we’re at, and bring our sin into the light. Because any sin kept in the dark will continue wreaking havoc on your life. That’s an absolute guarantee.
4. It’s not enough to stop doing wrong, if you aren’t doing right.
As a counselor I always remind people that it’s not enough to simply stop the wrong behavior, if you’re not moving into the right. My favorite passage of Scripture on this subject is Ephesians 4, where Paul reminds us of this life-changing truth. You can’t expect to stay out of sin if you’re not moving into righteousness instead. Refraining from sin isn’t enough if you’re not taking next steps into grace, forgiveness, and building healthy habits. You have the responsibility to choose this day who you’re going to serve and how you’re going to live. Get real with who you are and where you’re at and get plugged into accountability, community, and professional counseling.
5. Healthy people make healthy relationships.
I’m getting sick and tired of our culture’s attempt to fix “marriages” across our country, without actually fixing individuals first. Marriages are suffering because the individual people within those marriages are broken, bruised, and in need of healing. My heart and passion behind my entire ministry and book is to remind people that the only way to create a healthy relationship, is to become healthy standing alone.
We bring all our baggage and our junk into marriage, and then we’re surprised when it rears it’s ugly head. But I can guarantee you that all your junk will be multiplied and magnified within the pressure cooker of marriage. Christians, let’s not be naive- the very things you struggle with while standing alone, will be the very things you eventually struggle with in the context of your marriage. 100% of the time. Whether you are single, married, or somewhere in between, there is no better time than this to look inward and allow God to open your eyes to the things you need to work out in your life – and then to actually do something about it.
Today is the day of your salvation and freedom. You just have to CHOOSE it. Whoever you are and whatever it is you are struggling with, may God give each one of us the strength, courage, and grace to come out of our sin and move into his healing. Now go, and sin no more….
For more on becoming healthy and choosing healthy relationships, check out True Love Dates.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!