Second to the fallacy that “People Can’t Change for Good,” a lot of the rhetoric surrounding the Josh Duggar drama seems to resonate with the idea that “Repentance Isn’t Good Enough.”
Now, some who do believe that repentance is significant believe Josh Duggar’s public apology to fall short of reflecting all the elements of biblical repentance. I’m not even going to respond to that. Or the Duggars’ initial responses that cannot be redirected. Or intricacies of the laws regarding minors or statutes of limitations.
But there are plenty of others who are echoing the refrain that “Repentance Isn’t Good Enough,” and Scripture clearly disagrees with that!
What Repentance Includes
Second Chronicles 7:14 describes the basic elements of biblical repentance: humility, prayer, restored relationship, turning from sin, forgiveness and healing. When we accuse others of feigning humility or question their sincerity — especially when their behavior over a period of years has given us no reason to doubt it — we’re on pretty shaky ground. If we believe that people can change, there is a measure of grace we must extend to others — the same kind we want others to have toward us.
Regardless of whether you think Josh Duggar is or isn’t truly repentant, be careful how you discuss the issue, especially in front of your teen. And consider whether your parenting tendencies might color your judgments, or vice versa. For instance, do you always assume your teen to be dishonest? Do you see your own repeated sins as being more excusable? (Matthew 6:12, 7:12, 18)
To Whom Restoration Is Needed
The message of Scripture is clear: all sin is primarily against a holy God (Psalm 51:4). When we are rightly related to God, we will love others, too. We can find Old Testament commands (Proverbs 6:31) and New Testament examples (Luke 19:8) of restoring stolen goods. Of course, violent or sexual offenses are more difficult to handle.
Matthew 18:15 gives us all a responsibility to confront offensive behavior and make it public, if necessary. (If the law deems reporting necessary, then of course legal action should be taken as well.) Both Matthew 5 and 18 also describe a kind of “radical amputation” that someone truly broken over their sin will be willing to undergo. Removing themselves from situations of temptation and submitting to accountability are ways that they can sacrifice for the victims of their sin as well as help prevent them from hurting others in the future.
From what I’ve read, it seems that what many people in our society really want regarding the Josh Duggar situation is vengeance (Romans 12:19). They’ve been hurt by Christians and hate the hypocrisy they see. Perhaps they’ve been sexually abused but have not seen justice come to their perpetrators. A Christian pedophile in the public eye is an easy scapegoat for their anger, which desperately needs to be replaced with forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35).
If your teen has sinned against others, be encouraged: Humble and sincere repentance is enough to restore them to God.
- Sobering Realities Amid the Josh Duggar Drama
- Confronting Falsehoods Surrounding the Josh Duggar Drama, Part 1
- Confronting Falsehoods Surrounding the Josh Duggar Drama, Part 2
- Confronting Falsehoods Surrounding the Josh Duggar Drama, Part 3
Image credits: Top © Monkey Business/Fotolia; 2nd © Monkey Business/Fotolia
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