Monday, May 25, 2015

How Can It Be? That Josh Duggar Could Be Forgiven

Is anyone listening? I have some good news.

Even people who sin by sexually molesting another person can be forgiven.

Photo Credit: phototubby at DeviantART


HOW CAN IT BE?


Because this is the very reason Jesus left his home in heaven, was born, and came to earth as a man. He lived a sinless life, died for ALL sins, took the punishment/penalty of ALL sins, was forsaken by God, descended into hell and with the power of the Holy Spirit he rose. He broke the chains and power of sins, death and hell.

He not only took on our sin, but he bore our shame. He rose to live and defeated the grave. This is so hard for the world to believe. People living in the world, who do not know who Jesus really is, have never known a love like this.

But this love is real. Jesus is real. His love for us is real, and available for anyone who accepts Jesus' sacrifice for his own sin.

So what does this have to do with the life story of Josh Duggar, his family and Christians? Everything!

EVIL AND GOOD


We are all capable of evil. Especially when God is absent in our life. The more distance we have from God the more capable we are of committing evil acts. Like Einstein explained, cold is the absence of heat, evil is the absence of GOD--because God is all good, and everything that is good is from God.

Obama became infamous for saying, "You didn't build that!" Well, he was right. Whether we give God credit or not, anything we do that is good is not because of us but because of God. He gives talents, abilities, wealth, health, strength, etc.

What is amazing is Jesus came to earth and died for us knowing how horrible we were, knowing what horrible things we would do. If and when we are forgiven of all of our past, present and future sins that we commit against God and all other people, we finally ask in amazement, "How can it be that God would do this for me?

I have heard lots of comments hurled toward Josh Duggar, his family and Christians, in general.

Photo Credit: Andy Mumford at DeviantART


SINS AND STONERS


I am startled at how far we have come and how little people know about God and his Word. Christians have been responding "He who has never sinned cast the first stone." And ignorant of God's Word, people claim, "I have never raped or molested a person, so I will throw the first stone." People honestly do not know what sin is anymore. During Jesus time, every man living in the city of the adulterous woman understood he was a sinner and one by one dropped the stones, but today we would actually have a crowd a people stoning Josh Duggar.

People, many who have probably been sexually violated or know someone who has, are revolted that a sexual molester could be forgiven. They don't want him to get away with what he has done; they don't think he can be repentant and changed to not be a lifelong sexual predator. They want his children taken away from him. They want him destroyed.

I totally understand their thinking.

In my twenties I was remembering and holding onto to all the abuse that happen to me and my siblings which included sexual rape. I declared I was not going forget until the guilty paid for what they did. I thought I was doing a good thing by remembering. I didn't know how much I was damaging my own soul and dragging the abuser around with me everywhere I went like a ball on a chain.

THE GREATER SINNER


A wise pastor asked me a question, "Who sinned more: your own father against you OR you against your heavenly father, God?" Everyone could ask themselves this question. Who has sinned more that person who has abused/violated you OR your personal sins against God for your entire life (and on into the future for the rest of your life)?

I knew the answer the pastor wanted to hear but in my gut I did not believe it. I was abused for 18 years; I was tortured, tormented, threatened, and damaged in every way imaginable, almost everyday of my life. If abuse was not happening to me it was happening to a sibling or my mother. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE? How could I be a greater sinner than my abusing father?

But the question was very specific, "Who sinned more: your own father against you (every single sin he ever committed against me personally) or my own sins for my entire life (since every sin committed is against God)?"

I went home and knelt beside my sofa and asked God to show me my sin. I was quiet and listened. God answered my prayer. Over and over, on and on, minute by minute, the mental reel of my sins began rolling before me. After an hour or so, I was weeping for God to stop showing me. I clearly saw what a sinner I was. Yes, my father had done some horrible things to me but in comparison to the quantity of sins I had committed against God up until I was in my late twenties did not even come close to my father's sins against me. I was clearly the greater sinner. I pleaded for God to forgive me.

Forgiveness and Freedom


And HE did! He forgave me of everything. He wiped all of my sins away. I was no longer guilty. I was free. I was forgiven. The chains of sin were broken. HOW CAN IT BE? God was willing to forgive me over and over, again and again. He loves me unconditionally and I can never out-sin God's ability to forgive.

So how could Josh Duggar possibly go on with life? How could he forgive himself? How could his sisters and the family friend's whose girls had been hurt forgive him? Don't miss the fact that a person must not only ask God to forgive them and to forgive others, but they must also forgive themselves. If God forgives, who are we to put ourselves above God, making ourselves out to be a god by not forgiving ourselves.

The answer is Jesus. Jesus did it all. Jesus makes it possible.

And I can hear the crowds cry out, "It's not fair! It's too easy. Punish HIM. Crucify Him. Don't forgive. Don't forget. He must pay."

Everyone will be held accountable by God. No one who sins gets away with it. Either the person asks God to forgive them by the fact that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, they repent and turn from the sin and deal with the consequences (some natural, some given by authorities) AND live their life for Jesus OR they will have to pay for the penalty of their sins at death with their life and live eternally separated from God in a place called hell (tortured and tormented for eternity). We are all answerable to God for our own sins.

Legalist, Hypocrites and Pseudo-Christians


Other people are crying out because they claim that Josh was raised too strict, as a legalist (following rules of religion), too sheltered, sexually repressed, and then he was out-spoken about others sinning. They claim that because Josh's family raised their children to not be sexually active it was the reason he molested the girls. They reason it has to be because they did not allow him to masterbate or watch sexual media he acted out against this strict upbringing. They claim since some of the adults associated with his family are known to be predators they could not possibly have given him good counsel or taken his actions seriously. They are furious that since he molested little girls when he was a young boy of 13 (barely a teenager) that he has no right to talk about what sin is, to claim that homosexual behavior and molestation/rape is wrong. They believe he should be disqualified for life from talking about sexual sin. Many even say his own children should be taken from him, that what he did as a young boy disqualifies him from being a good father and husband. 

They say all of this because they do not know GOD. They don't know the power of God to redeem what is destroyed, to restore what as stolen. They don't know that God can heal any hurt, take away any sin, keep people from sinning and restore relationships. I do not know Josh Duggar and I do not know the condition of his heart. I do not know the girls that were hurt and the condition of their heart, BUT I do KNOW God. He is able, willing and all-powerful. He is Jehovah-Rapha, The God Who Heals. God knows the heart and conditions of those involved in the Josh Duggar situation. He is Jehovah-El Roi, The God Who Sees.

The fact is Josh Duggar was targeted because he claims to be a Christian and is outspoken against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders. He has put a target on his back, and Satan exposed Josh's sins of his boyhood to silence him and destroy him and his family. 

Being a legalist is not what God wants. He wants us to have a real relationship with Him, not to have us following a bunch of rules hoping by doing so to gain his favor and acceptance to heaven (it can't be done; it is not God's way). Being a hypocrite is not what God wants. Jesus spoke the harshest to hypocrites of his time that happen to be religious leaders who were legalist following their own manmade rules instead of God commandments in the Bible. Being a pseudo-Christian is not what God wants, and America has way too many false Christians. People who claim the name of Christian but who do not live the life of being a follower of Jesus. Jesus LOVED the sinner, but hated the sin, therefore, we are to love the sinners and hate the sins.

Photo Credit: Mindasr at DevientART


WHAT does God Want?

So I have listed everything that God does not want. What does he want? 

He wants to love us. He wants a relationship with you and me. He wants us to talk to Him and to know Him. We do this by praying, listening and reading the Bible. He wants us to watch out and guard our own heart against temptations to sin. Each of us are tempted by our own version of sin. We have to set up boundaries in life to keep ourselves from falling into sin. He wants us to depend on Him, to trust Him and to yield our will to His desires. He wants us to believe that He has a good plan for our life and we simply need to obey Him. He wants us to be filled up with the Holy Spirit to be able to walk by faith and not by sight.

Of course, this is much easier stated then done. It takes great discipline and being still before God allowing Him to fill us up with His supernatural power to live strong spiritual lives instead of acting out on our fleshly pleasure-filled wants. This is how "spiritual leaders" get tripped up; they start believing that they built their church and their organization; they soak up the adoration of followers and live lofty lives instead of adoring God and taking care of the poor and needy.

So, How can it be? How can Josh or anyone like him be forgiven? God sent His son Jesus to live and die for our sin; He caused Him to rise again. Jesus lives and is ready, wanting us to forgive us and love us.

If you want to know more about God, you might enjoy this article post on Real Hope or I Choose to Forgive or Show Me My Sin or Is There Someone You need to Forgive?

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