I’ve been around people like Josh Duggar my whole life

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The one thing that breaks my heart is watching people walk away from the faith or be turned off by it because of people like Josh Duggar. And what I mean by people like Josh Duggar are people that profess to be something when their actions tell a different story. In short, people who claim to be Christians yet their actions are anything but Christ-like. Do not define Christ by these “Christians.” Do not define Christianity by hypocrites. You can’t. Yet that’s exactly what the media is trying to do.

Stop blaming Christianity for “bad” “Christians.” Please note the quotes. Read the Bible for yourself. In its entirety. It’s the greatest love story ever told. I left the church for about a year when I was younger because of so-called Christians in the church. One of my best friends has been turned off by Christianity because two Christians he considered friends treated him worse than his secular friends. This is a problem. It’s a problem I am constantly trying to fight. Unfortunately, I believe I’ll be fighting it for the rest of my life but the flesh and the sinful nature are to blame for bad choices, not Christianity.

Just because someone says they are a Christian it doesn’t mean they are one. I don’t know if Josh Duggar is a Christian or not. I don’t know his heart. But I do know he claims to be one and I do know his actions have not been that of a Christian. I think I would be married by now if all the men that professed to be saved actually loved Christ the way they say they do. But that’s simply not the case. And I’m not surprised by this. The Bible talks about it. “Many are called, few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14) “Narrow is the path to life, broad is the path to destruction” (Matthew 7:13-14). Many people who claim to be Christian, simply are not. End of story.

Christ’s love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace are never an excuse to sin. Never. One of the best things about Christ is that He loves us so much, even knowing how much we’ve messed up. We’ve all been born with a selfish nature- to look out for ourselves first and foremost. But Christ, when we accept Him, He changes our hearts. The problem I have with the “Josh Duggars” of today, is it appears repentance never precludes this “forgiveness” they speak of. Repentance means you are not only sorry for what you’ve done, but you turn and follow down a different path. Christ forgives us and then tells us to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Sin doesn’t mix well with you anymore. It’s not who you are. It’s rare if you do sin. But no one wants to talk about that. It’s easier to say we will sin again. I’m not saying Christians are perfect and I’m not saying they will never mess up but Christians don’t sin over and over again like this either (1 John 3:9). There is growth. There is change. There is conviction. And the truth is, I see more professed Christians excusing sin rather than fighting it. That’s a problem.

Purity is not some unreachable unrealistic myth, no matter how much the media and society try to make us believe otherwise. I don’t know how Josh Duggar was really raised. We see a limited glimpse into his life. But I will say this, problems can arise when people do not have the proper understanding or respect for what God’s Word says. Everything in the Bible was written for our benefit. And when you start to read the book through that lens rather than a book of cans and cannots, you begin to see the heart of Christ. Instead of reading “If you teach nothing but abstinence, girls get pregnant and contract STD’s” in the headlines, what if we taught abstinence appropriately? What if we were allowed to discuss the emotional turmoil of the hook-up culture freely rather than stating “there is nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage between two enthusiastically consenting adults?” I’m sorry, but there is nothing healthy about that. Nothing. And it’s sad, weak, and a cop out to say that Josh Duggar’s problem could have been solved through more exploration when he was younger. You don’t attempt to solve a problem with another problem.

Your upbringing is not a valid excuse for anything. I read that the way Josh was raised is what led to his criminal behavior. I’m sorry, but do we not have free will? Do we not have the ability to make our own choices? It’s this type of mindset that leads to people not taking responsibility for their own actions. We were all dealt different hands but the cool thing I’ve noticed is that God’s wonderful grace fills in the gaps. It is tragic if Josh was taught the rules and laws of God without seeing Christ’s love for him. But at the end of the day, we all have our own choices to make. And if we take the time to really search for the right answers, I am certain we will find them (Jeremiah 29:13). I just pray we all take ownership over our own lives, stop looking to others, and discover God’s amazing plan for ourselves.

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photo credit: the hotel we love via photopin (license)

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Dating means letting go, marriage means holding on

I think we have it backwards. Too many people stay in relationships they should have left long ago while others exit when they should have stayed. Maybe it’s just me but I often see these people in dating relationships that just seem miserable. And the excuse is always the same, “Yea, but I love him/her.” Really? What is it you love so much? Okay okay, I don’t want to come across negative but what I really want to tell these people is that they aren’t married and it won’t get better. I think we often think it will. We hope it will at least. And it does in some ways. But I think we forgot the whole concept of dating.

Dating means letting go

Many people who are just dating say they are basically married. What?! If they don’t say it, it’s often implied. It’s fun to think about. We date because we want to be married, well really because we want to be loved. And marriage signifies that. But the whole point of dating is to get to know someone to see if you want to be married to them. You can’t possibly know if you want to marry them until you get to know them. So it’s okay if you end up breaking up- you aren’t married! That is what happens. Yes, we often feel we can’t. We don’t want to quit. We don’t want to fail. We want to work through it. We want to be loyal. All great qualities but it’s simply tragic when it’s wasted on the wrong one because you didn’t think you could break up for whatever reason. It is hard to do but it’s life and it happens. Contrary to what your heart wants to do, you need to balance being “happy go lucky” with objectiveness to see if this is actually the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. No one can be mad at you for breaking up when you are only dating. Well, unless you were a jerk about it;)

Marriage means holding on

So what leads me to believe these people are running into marriages instead of breaking things off? The numerous divorces I see happening in couples just a few years in. That’s what. What happened? What went wrong? We exit marriages quicker than we exit work when the clock hits 5 o’clock. I think a big problem is the fact that people want to get married but they aren’t ready for marriage. At least not with the person they picked. Numerous reasons I am sure. But just like dating is the opportunity to decide whether or not you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, marriage signifies that commitment to actually spend the rest of your life with said person. Commitment. Fighting. Loving. Choosing the other person first. Constantly. So if you’re not ready, don’t get married. If you don’t know the person well enough to know, don’t do it. Marriage is losing its value in our society, but don’t let it lose its meaning in your life.

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photo credit: Amber Dancing via photopin (license)