It’s late … it is a time when my brain can’t stop talking, and sometimes it just writing helps to kind of clear it out. Unfortunately, my late night ponderings are often the ones I eventually regret or wonder if I should even post – but here goes nothing:
For what it’s worth.
We live in Northwest Arkansas. The big story here (and seemingly every where?) is about the recent discoveries that some bad things happened in the Duggar family of TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting series – granted, many years ago. I am not really a big fan of the Duggar show, but my 14 year old daughter watches it, so of course, I’m concerned, interested … and want to find a way to explain what happened to her.
We live in the land of the Duggar’s. I know where their house is, maybe 10 miles from mine … I’ve been on their property as a pastor-mechanic who fixed our Buick once upon a time uses their garage space. I met their son Justin when I went to pick up our vehicle. We’ve seen 2 of their girls at Goodwill shopping. I have acquaintances here who are friends with the Duggar family, who’ve been in their home and invited to their events.
Also, I’m a social media junkie since I have no real life to speak of right now … and I’ve seen so many sides of the story: questions about how this is affecting the victims (ie the girls who were molested) and WHO is really the victim here anyway: Josh Duggar or the girls he molested … are the Duggars hypcorites … was ENOUGH done to rectify the situation … should the Family Research Council have accepted Josh Duggar’s resignation or been as equally forgiving towards him? And on and on. There are people on both sides of the story – former Arkansas governor and Duggar Family friend (and I think Presidential candidate for 2016?) Mike Huckabee is standing with the Duggar family, for example. No doubt the non-Christian world is having a heyday, another mighty family fallen … and there are some scathing articles out there about how lax and flippantly the situation was handled.
What does my daughter need to know?
1. We don’t know ALL the details … we can’t judge. BUT we can learn.
2. Personally, I’ve always wondered why it was perfectly acceptable for the Duggar family to give their “exclusive statements” about their 2 girls’ recent marriages and pregnancies to People magazine … I mean, what IS People magazine exactly??? It has always bothered me that even the Duggar’s website, tweets and facebook (which I follow because my daughter does!) even direct people to buy a People magazine for the “exclusive story” about this or that Duggar event. Granted, we don’t have to comply … and I certainly won’t be shelling out my almost $4 for a copy of a Hollywood rag. That isn’t to say, I haven’t picked up a People magazine at a doctor’s office and paged through one … because I HAVE! :)
How much do the Duggar’s get paid for their exclusive stories to People magazine … and shoot, given a chance, what would I do (not that my life is interesting enough to warrant any attention from them so I doubt I’ll face the dilemma)??!
Did Jim Bob Duggar exploit his family for money … or are they just trying to be a “light” in the usually not-so-moral world of entertainment?? I can’t judge their motives.
BUT, should it come as any surprise that another Hollywood gossip magazine, In Touch is the one who dug into Josh Duggar’s past and broke the story of his past history??
I’m just saying … actions have consequences. My son recently laughed at me when I told him about the old saying “lie down with dogs, get up with fleas” … but is that what happened? To what extent does God expect us to balance “being a light on the hill” with “being in the world but not of it”?? I can’t say I have an answer …
3. Consider the victims … there is a point there. I know personally of victims of sexual molestation and abuse in Christian families. By family members. Just like Josh Duggar’s situation with his sisters (and whatever other victims). And what has been done ever so often is that the situation is swept under a rug. Perhaps the victim is protected after the fact, but all too often the abuser (whether naive or malicious) goes on to have a normal life with few consequences. The church I grew up in had very little – or no – guidance about what to do in such a situation. It was marked in the long list under the category of “things we don’t talk about”.
The one redeeming quality I’ve read in the Duggar’s statement is that Josh Duggar and his family in their own way attempted to make things right, and Josh asked for forgiveness. Perhaps I’m not understanding God’s grace completely, but from what I understand, even when God forgives, if a crime was committed, it still had consequences. For example, David was sorry he committed adultery with Bathsheba – but he still suffered great loss afterward. Once that was acknowledged, he was able to go on and live as “a man after God’s own heart”.
While I hope that people who are raped, molested, abused or hurt in whatever way can go on and live a “normal” life, I do know there are often things in the mind that have to be dealt with – thinking patterns or memories. They are still there! Yes, God can RENEW our minds … but how do we know how to do that unless we even realize we need to?
I guess I feel most for the girls who have to now be reminded of the offenses committed against them.
4. What did I tell my daughter? Well, not so much of the previous few points … although I did share a little of how the Duggar family put themselves out there – and no doubt, benefitted financially from contracts with TLC or People magazine and appearances on the Today Show. The question is was that “wrong” or just dangerous? Or was it ok? That, we can’t really judge.
I guess I can be glad that my family isn’t interesting enough to be asked if we want to be on TV!
What else has this led us to talk about?
The fact that molestation happens. I can’t even begin to number the pastors and men in authority in my own denomination whose power got the better of them, and they felt entitled to molest a girl or boy or several. Some brought to trial, some not. Some just protected by a closed mouth group of deacons or trustees … and that is WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.
It doesn’t make it any less wrong when a family member – young or old – commits the offense. At least Josh acknowledged it was WRONG. He asked for forgiveness. If enough was done to remedy the situation, I have no idea. I don’t stand in God’s place to say forgiveness is there but the rectification of the situation had to go to a certain extent.
I don’t know what God is up to in this family. And in a way, I told my daughter we just need to keep our heads down and do – to the best of our ability – what is RIGHT in our own family. We have our own sins and issues to deal with. What happened with the Duggar’s is tragic … I hope they “maintain” their testimony or God uses it for something good. I know many people – Christian and non-Christian – are passing their judgments and forming their opinions.
My last contemplation is that once again “appearances” seem to have been upheld. While I believe because I’ve known people like the Duggar’s – in fact, I’ve sort of almost lived like the Duggar’s in the past – that they are SINCERE, I hope it is in their HEARTS. I hope it isn’t just appearances and outward show. I hope it isn’t just a rote routine and a pasted-on smile. I hope it is real.
Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Duggar people say they are perfect, although in a sound bite on-line recently, Josh did say “Our family is like the epitome of conservative values,” Duggar said. “People connect to us in that way.” Are they really? I prefer to think I have conservative values – but my epitome is JESUS! No man – woman, child – will ever be my “hero”.
For the most part, I’ve talked to my daughter mainly about not accepting abuse or molestation ever. #1 most important thing to know is that IT HAPPENS EVEN IN THE “SAFEST” OF ENVIRONMENTS!!! Then I’ve talked a little about not judging without knowing the whole story. While opinions are formed (obviously, I have mine!), we don’t know these people, and if they are believers (and I think they are!), then God will help them work it out. We are not in any position that we NEED TO take sides or waste more time than I already have writing this post about it. And lastly, to often check our own hearts, is our relationship with God REAL? Are we REAL? Are we making sure our own sin and its consequences aren’t just glossed over? Do we make light of our sin?? And yet, do we understand that God does forgive and He does NOT want us to carry around false guilt either.
Lastly, I’ve also talked to my daughter just a little more about teens and hormones and curiosity. It also wasn’t something that was ever talked about in my home while I was growing up – nor even much in my church – and so it was all a great mystery … and when it was abused, no one knew exactly what to do. I want to be more open about things like that with my kids … not because it is pleasant (I am quite the prude!!) but because personally I think they need to be aware of what is “normal” hormonal development and feelings … and what all isn’t quite right.
And now that I have all that down … I think I can leave the whole Duggar situation to them to work out and to God’s very capable hands. Good night! :)
PS This post was edited somewhat after I hit “publish” so if you read it by email and see mistakes or something that doesn’t make sense, it might have been corrected on the blog. Then again this entire post may not make any sense at all in general!! :)