“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.” (Josh Duggar – May 21, 2015)
If you live in the U.S., and you have access to newspapers, magazines, the internet or television, then by now, you’ve no doubt heard about Josh Duggar’s shocking statement, in response to allegations of child molestation. Many people have commented and weighed in on this subject, with some valid points and some foolish ones. This is an extremely difficult situation, for the victims of Duggar’s actions, first and foremost. It is also extremely difficult for his parents, the siblings who weren’t molested, as well as Josh’s wife and children. Many people have already cast judgment on Josh Duggar and his parents, and while I can’t judge the Duggar’s hearts, what can be judged is their behavior at the time Josh molested five different girls, and their behavior now. In judging their behavior, let us remember that it is the responsibility of Christians, to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, when they fall into sin…
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. (Galatians 6:1 NLT)
20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.” (Ezekiel 3:20-21 NLT)
As a former victim of child molestation, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on this indredibly painful topic. First, I’d like to address the announcement that Josh made. One thing that jumps out to me in his account is the fact that Josh appears to tiptoe around the subject. While he comes across as sounding regretful and repentant, there is a part of me that questions Josh’s sincerity. If you glance at Josh’s statement, he seems to address the issue, but read it again.
Never once does Josh confess his sin, which is all over the tabloids. Not once, does Josh admit to molesting anyone or committing incest, not to mention pedophilia. Instead, he merely says, “I acted inexcusably…” A teenager acting inexcusably could be guilty of any number of offenses, ranging from minor ones to major ones. Perhaps, you think I’m being too picky, and that Josh’s disclosure of his “inexcusable actions” is enough. However, the fact is that he hasn’t said enough. In his statement to the press, Josh never really confessed to the crimes of molestation, pedophilia and incest that he allegedly committed. Is it necessary for him to say the words? Absolutely. Just as an alcoholic needs to confess that he/she is an alcoholic, so too, a pedophile and a child molester must admit that he/she is a pedophile and a child molester.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NASB)
According to scripture, we must confess our sins in order to be forgiven. According to dictionary.com, the definition of confess is:
- to own or admit as true:
I must confess that I haven’t read the book.
- to declare or acknowledge (one’s sins), especially to God or a priest in order to obtain absolution.
- (of a priest) to hear the confession of (a person).
- to acknowledge one’s belief or faith in; declare adherence to.
- to reveal by circumstances.
- to make a confession; plead guilty; own: to confess to a crime.
- to make a confession of sins, especially to a priest.
- (of a priest) to hear confession.
According to the above definition, when Josh Duggar gave his press report, he did not confess to, or own the crime he committed. He only admitted to acting inexcusably. Many of us have acted inexcusably, but our inexcusable actions did not include child molestation or incest. Josh Duggar needs to own and confess what he has done, without hiding behind words that are meant to minimize the crime, so that it doesn’t sound as bad as it is.
Another thing that greatly disturbed me when I read Josh’s statement was this comment:
“… I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life…” (Josh Duggar – May 21, 2015)
Perhaps you’re wondering how I could possibly find this statement disturbing, but I urge you to read his entire statement, and take note on whom he focused. Josh understood that if he continued down that road, he would end up ruining his life. He’s absolutely right. He may well have ruined his life with those actions, but what about the lives of his victims?
Regardless of whether he continued on that path, he certainly, at the very least, damaged the lives of his victims. And who, besides God and Josh, truly knows how many other victims there were? We do know that Josh’s actions have already harmed the lives of at least five, not including the rest of his brothers and sisters, his parents, his wife, and the babysitter and her family, as well.
I also found it terribly disturbing that in their interview on The Kelly Files, Mr. and Mrs. Duggar repeatedly minimized the seriousness of their son’s crime against his victims, two of whom were their own daughters!
J.B. Duggar: “… And the girls, we talked to them, and they didn’t know that anything had happened because they were asleep…”
Kelly: “Like when you went to bed at night during that time frame, were you scared? Were you worried? You know, he’s 14, he’s having this problem. What’s going to happen when we go to sleep?”
J.B. Duggar: “Right. Nothing ever happened like that again in the girls’ bedrooms after that.”
J.B. Duggar: “Ok. So, we had safeguards that protected them from that. But there was another incident where — two different incidents where the girls were, like, laying on the couch, and it was — he had touched, like, over the couch and actually touched their breast while they were asleep. And so –“
M. Duggar: “Over their clothes.”
J.B. Duggar: “– over their clothes. And so it was a very difficult situation. But as we talked to other parents and different ones since then, a lot of families have said that they’ve had similar things happen in their families. And so — I mean, this is, for us, of course, this is public shame that our son did this back 12, 13 years ago…”
J.B. Duggar: “… All of these — again, this was not rape or anything like that, this was like touching somebody over their clothes. There were a couple incidents where he touched them under their clothes, but it was like a few seconds and then he came to us and was crying and told us what happened, and it was after that third time he came to us is where we really felt like, you know what?…”
Kelly: “And we’ll going to get to that in one second. The subsequent incidents after the first one involved daughters who were awake, at least a couple of them?”
J. B. DUGGAR: “There was a couple, yes. And they didn’t really understand, though, what happened.“
Kelly: “Yes. What –“
M. Duggar: “It was more his heart, his intent. He knew that it was wrong. But in theirs they weren’t even aware. They were like, you know, it wasn’t — to them they didn’t probably even understand that it was an improper touch.”
Kelly: “I know that the ultimate one before you really got help involved a very young daughter, and I’ll avoid the age because I don’t want to identify anyone specifically, but a single digit. I mean, what was that like for you to hear? You know, one, you must have thought for some time this is a pubescent boy, I don’t know what he’s going through, but he’s testing. But when it moves to a young daughter –“
J. B. Duggar: “Right. At that point, that’s when we pulled him out of the house and we said, he can’t be here. And so, we pulled him out and then, he went through working with that man –“
Kelly: “Yes. He goes through counseling.”
J. B. Duggar: “Yes.”
Kelly: “And then when he was done with the counseling, this is not like a licensed therapist, it’s somebody, a Christian-based –“
J. B. Duggar: “Christian based. But I’ll tell you why.”
Kelly: “Treatment facility…”
Kelly: “… I’m asking you more as the father of your girls than as the father of Josh. You know, it must have been very hard to look at your little one and know the behavior had been ongoing, as difficult as your position was.”
J. B. Duggar: “Right. I was so thankful, though, that Josh came and told us. And our girls, even though this was a very bad situation, as we’ve talked to other families who have had, you know, other things happen, a lot of their stories were even worse…“
To read the entire transcript of the Duggar’s interview, please click this link:
The repeated minimization of Josh Duggar’s criminal actions against his sisters is disturbing. In much the same way that King David, of Old Testament times, ignored the brutal assault that his son, Amnon, committed against his half-sister, Tamar, the Duggar’s also appear to ignore and minimize the traumatizing effects of their son, Josh’s, sexual assault against their daughters. Indeed, protecting and defending their son’s reputation seems to be more important to them, than acknowledging the seriousness of the crime committed against their daughters.
As a matter of fact, the following statement, made by J.B. Duggar, shows just how out of touch with reality they are…
J.B. DUGGAR: I think you actually said pedophile, and a pedophile is an adult that preys on children. Josh was actually 14 and just turned 15 when he did what he did, and I think the legal definition was 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child. So he was a child preying on a child.
KELLY: You do not view Josh as a pedophile?
J.B. DUGGAR: No.
Just to clarify, Wikipedia provides this definition of pedophilia:
Pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger. As a medical diagnosis, specific criteria for the disorder extend the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13. A person who is diagnosed with pedophilia must be at least 16 years of age, but adolescents must be at least five years older than the prepubescent child for the attraction to be diagnosed as pedophilia.
While it may be true that Josh committed these crimes when he was between the ages of fourteen and fifteen, at least one of the children was more than five years younger than he was. Furthermore, what difference does one year or two make in a situation like this? Let’s remember that Josh molested one of his sister’s, who was under ten years old.
The Duggar’s appeared to be more concerned about the release of Josh’s records, than the crimes he had committed against his sisters. Quite frankly, this whole situation is troubling to me, though many Duggar’s fans claim that they are being unfairly attacked because of their Christianity. I’m a Christian, and I find both Josh’s actions and their response to his actions terribly troublesome.
I believe the Duggars mishandled this situation from the very beginning. Josh Duggar should be on the sexual predators list, just like all others who commit the same crimes. Also, because of the nature of his crimes, he should never be left alone with children, who are unable to protect themselves.
Perhaps you think I’m being too hard on Josh Duggar and his family, but I would suggest that they did not then, and still have not taken this situation seriously enough. I love the Lord, and I’m not questioning their faith in God, but consider this…
Suppose there was a really nice young man at your church, who taught Sunday School, or worked in the nursery, and his background was just like Josh Duggar’s? Would you, as a parent, feel comfortable leaving your children in the care of this man, who says he is a Christian, and he’s turned his life around, or would you remove your child from his class? Knowing this person’s background, I believe that any parent who left their children in the care of someone who had committed incest and pedophelia, would be grossly negligent.
Even if this person had totally turned his life around and given his heart to the Lord, I would not leave my child alone with him, because even after we are saved, we still struggle with temptation, and though I pray Josh has truly changed, to risk a child’s well being, when only God truly knows his heart would be a sin. You see, up until very recently, this was something that was hidden in the dark, and it wasn’t Josh who brought it into the light. He was content to leave it in the darkness, and because God hasn’t revealed whether or not it is now safe for Josh to be alone with children, I reiterate that it would be sinful and grossly negligent to leave a child alone with him.
Because of this scandal, TLC has now cancelled the Duggar’s hit television series, 19 Kids and Counting, and I believe it was the right decision. While I understand that many Christians love the Duggar’s show, and they see a double standard here, believing that this cancellation is an attack on Christianity, again, I disagree. Should the Duggar’s be held to a lesser accountability than other television stars, who have fallen in disgrace due to their sins? Should they be allowed to continue to air their show, when Bill Cosby, for instance, who has been accused of drugging and raping numerous women over the years, has had his syndicated series’ cancelled? I would have to say no.
Friends, let us remember that we, as followers of Christ, are held to a higher degree of accountability than the world is, and although we may have sinned and committed crimes before our salvation, we are not exempt from the consequences of those sins and crimes, just because we are born again. Accepting Christ as our Savior does not give us a “Get out of Jail Free” card. What we receive instead, is a much greater gift, instead. For, when we are saved and delivered from our sins, we receive eternal life, and a “Get out of Hell Free” card.
I won’t deny that this scandal tripped many triggers in me, due to my past. However, I’m not condemning Josh Duggar or his parents. I truly do pray that he has turned his life around with help from the Lord. I also pray that Mr. and Mrs. Duggar will stop minimizing the incest and molestation committed by Josh against their children and their babysitter, and face the true scope of their son’s sin, and the harm that was done to the victims, so that all of them can truly heal from their pain.
As for my fellow believers, let us all agree to pray for deliverance and healing for everyone who was involved in this crime, both the victims, their families, and the perpetrator and his family.
Cheryl A. Showers