• How To Handle The Josh Duggar Ashley Madison Scandal

Another Josh Duggar scandal emerged. He was discovered to be one of the names of the Ashley Madison customers. He has since released the following statement:

I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.

I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.

I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust.

The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failings.

As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example.

I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.

I know for many this was another huge blow. Whenever one person, or one family, is put up on a pedestal, they are bound to fall from grace at some point or another. People aren’t meant to be on a pedestal. We are all too imperfect to be held up as any kind of “absolute” symbol.

But how should we handle this situation? Typically, when something like this happens, I see one of two things happen – it’s dismissed as “oh, he’s just another person who has sinned, and God will forgive him.” OR the person in question would be slaughtered in the media and disowned from the church.

Neither of these methods work and I would like to suggest that what we really need to do is change this conversation.

First of all, I really appreciate his honesty. He could have come forward and said “oh, that wasn’t me” or ignored the accusation all together, but he didn’t. Not only did he admit he was in the wrong, but he apologized, and I will always respect someone who can own up to their wrong doings.

However, just because he apologized, doesn’t mean we should just sweep it under the rug, or that he should be let off the hook. Our actions have consequences. There will be consequences to his actions, whether or not we see them publicly. This is also a great opportunity to discuss why it’s not only okay, but important, to accept outside help with areas we struggle with. I’ve noticed in the church, many times, it’s common to just believe we can pray the sin away. I am in no way suggesting there isn’t power in prayer. Many times, God will present us with a solution – maybe a therapist, or a doctor, or someone who can professionally help us with our problem, and we dismiss it because the answer to our prayer doesn’t look like we expect it to look. In this case, I wonder if there had been professional help when he was younger (after he was discovered molesting his sisters), if perhaps this situation could be avoided?

The other conversation that needs to be had, is how much the purity movement played a part in this scandal. I believe that the intentions behind the purity movement are good intentions. I think the reality of the purity movement is that the majority of the responsibility is placed on young women’s shoulders. There is a belief that can be created that all of her worth lies in her innocence and virginity. If a man is tempted he is “just being a guy,” but if a woman is found at fault – she loses her worth. This is a perfect example of what happens when the responsibility of this conversation, of respect, of body autonomy, and of treating each other with dignity is not placed firmly on the shoulders of ALL parties – no matter the gender. We need to start bringing young men into this conversation. We need to teach them about consent, respect, and what loving and empowering women looks like.

I will be praying for the entire Duggar family, specifically for Josh’s wife and kids, but also for him to know that it’s okay to seek outside help when dealing with something so serious. I will also be praying that we can use this opportunity to CHANGE the conversation and to use this as an opportunity to teach our children about the true meanings of love, respect and responsibility.

How do you think the conversation needs to be changed? What ways do you think we could learn from this scandal? Comment below.




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