In addition to the false ideas that “People Can’t Change” and “Repentance Isn’t Enough”, another societal error emerging from the muddy waters surrounding the Josh Duggar saga is that transparency is always a good thing. Regardless of what you think of the Duggars’ theology, parenting, lifestyle, or handling of the sexual abuse scandal within their family, we all realize that in some ways they opened themselves up to intense scrutiny by allowing TV cameras into their home.
Let’s face it: No tabloids are spending big money to try to rattle skeletons in the closets of no-name Christian homeschooling families. Regardless of what you think of reality TV in general, it’s part of an overall atmosphere celebrating transparency. As parents, we need to realize that this is based in another falsehood: “Transparency Is Always a Good Thing.”
Privacy Can Be a Good Thing
There is an important distinction between privacy and pretension, discretion and delusion. Proverbs 28:13 directly states that covering up one’s own sin creates further problems, broadening the scope of sin’s consequences. The Old Testament offers poignant examples — think about Cain, Achan, David. And the New Testament encourages confession within the church (James 5:16).
On the other hand, though, covering others’ offenses — or allowing them to remain private — can be a good thing (Proverbs 17:9, 1 Peter 4:8). We can’t shelter our kids from consequences or hold back from reporting illegal activities. And we certainly need to encourage confession and restitution to any others involved. We may also need to seek godly counsel (Proverbs 11:14).
Revealing secrets isn’t a characteristic anyone wants in a friend (Proverbs 11:13) or a spouse (Proverbs 31:11). And it’s not great in a parent, either. Most of the time, our teens’ failings need to be brought to the cross of Christ — and left there.
Trust Must Be Earned
Let’s face it: None of us trusts people equally. Even if there’s no reason to distrust them, some people will simply not be as close as others. George Washington offers this advice: “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”
As counselor Holly Stratton states it, “Public access decreases private value” and “the value of shared privacy directly correlates to how tightly confined that privacy remains.”
As parents, we have an opportunity to deepen our relationships with our teens by protecting their privacy. When matters need to be discussed with a wise mentor or counselor or brought to an authority, we need to do so. But we also need to be cautious — and caution our teens — about “hanging out our dirty laundry” for no good reason.
Parents, be encouraged: Unless you invite a reality TV crew into your home, you can keep some things private.
- 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 © Andersen Ross/Blend Images LLC/Fotolia; 2nd © Anatoliy Samara/Fotolia