Biblical Reflection on the Duggar Issue

[Note: This post was written by Mandy Baker, a good friend of mine from Bible college, and was first posted on Facebook and now on here with her permission.]

Here’s my (Mandy) two cents on the whole Duggar issue:

Biblically speaking Anna has grounds for divorce. (Matthew 5:32) God hates divorce (Malachi 2:15-16) but allows it due to our hardness of heart (Matthew 19:8), in the cases of adultery and abandonment. So should Anna get a divorce? I don’t know. That depends on the specific circumstances and details. (We as outsiders don’t know all the circumstances. I am not defending Josh or his actions by saying that. All I am saying is that it’s unwise to judge before hearing the whole story-Proverbs 18:13.) Anna probably should seek wise and biblical counsel from the elders of her church and then prayerfully come to a decision. Is it possible to stay married? Definitely. Is it wise? I don’t know. As a believer she does have to forgive as Christ forgave her if Josh seeks forgiveness (Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32). Does forgiveness mean staying with him? No. Does it mean being naive? No. Do I believe it is possible for them to save their marriage and rebuild trust over time? Yes. Is it easy? No!!! Does it mean blindly trusting Josh? No!!! It would mean a lot of patience, love and grace on Anna’s part. But also repentance (which includes an active and specific plan of action), regular accountability, and boundaries in place to prevent further sin and temptation on Josh’s part. One should not think that the Bible encourages a woman to be a doormat and to stay with a husband who is living in a lifestyle of sexual sin and is unrepentant. So many people seem to confuse that. If that is the case, church discipline needs to happen (Matthew 18). It saddens me that we don’t hear anything about Josh’s church and how they pursue him and discipline him with the goal of restoration, for the good of Josh’s soul and to keep the church pure. Where is the pastoral involvement and shepherding? (Not saying this is not happening. I just haven’t read anything about it yet.) However, what concerns me is the fact that Josh got caught and then confessed rather than confessing with a repentant heart. If his heart does not change, his behavior won’t either. A treatment facility will not change him. Behavior modification will not make a sheep out of a goat. If Josh’s heart does not change he will continue to commit sexual sin. He might merely become more crafty. I pray God grants him a repentant heart and changes him. I pray for God’s will to be done in this marriage situation. I pray God will grant Anna and her elders wisdom. I pray Anna is in a biblical (and I mean biblical church that takes seriously what the Bible teaches about how church should be done!!!) and that the church will protect her, come alongside her and guide her in this awful situation. Lastly, I want to remind us all that we are all sinners, rotten to the core. What Josh did we all are capable of. If we haven’t even acted in similar ways already, let’s not pretend we are any better. All have fallen short (Romans 3:23). There is hope and forgiveness in Christ for Josh and all of us. Receiving Christ and His forgiveness will not necessarily free us from the consequences of our sin, however. Josh will need to deal with the consequences of his actions, whether that means divorce or not. Sin doesn’t happen in isolation. When we sin other people get hurt. In this case his wife, four children, extended family and friends. Mainly, however, he sinned against God. God is the one chiefly offended. His hypocrisy also reflects poorly on the church. (But again this is where the church leadership needs to come in and assess the situation). That’s my two cents. Soli deo gloria.

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