In my first post on Josh Duggar and his sexually immoral behavior, we talked about how God can forgive him and restore him if he has truly confessed his sin and sought the Lord’s forgiveness. We as the body of Christ need to be ready to receive him. In this post though I want to go back and look at what may have been the sources for Josh Duggar’s wrong decisions and ultimately sinful behavior.
This is in NO WAY meant as a judgment on Josh Duggar – God is his judge I am not. I think if you read this post in its entirety you will see I am not approaching this in some “holier than thou” attitude, but rather I am approaching this with the attitude that all of us a Christian men could fall into this sin if we don’t learn from the mistakes of Josh Duggar.
God hold’s every person accountable for the decisions they make, even if those decisions may have been influenced by the actions or teachings of others. Having said that – nothing happens in a vacuum and I want to look at some things that may have influenced Josh Duggar’s wrong thought processes that ultimately lead him into the sinful situation in which he found himself.
Josh Duggar’s parents had a huge impact on his thought processes about sex
It is good and right for the Duggars and other Christians to stand up for marriage, and to stand against things that God calls immoral like sex outside of marriage and gay marriage. It is also good for Christian parents to try and protect their children from having sex outside of marriage by making sure when they are courting or dating that there are always other people around.
But where the Duggars and so many other Christians fail their children is in the fact that they teach their children to suppress their God given sexuality, rather than channel it in healthy ways that do not violate God’s law.
I use this illustration a lot. Let’s say you have a river running through the middle of a small town. Sometimes when you have bad rains, or in high water years it spills over into the town causing damage to the surrounding structures.
You could build some river walls along the river to the highest height it might go or perhaps you could even build a dam further upstream to control the water level of the river running through your town. But even a dam has to have release valves or eventually the water will overflow the damn and destroy the town.
The water is symbolic of our sexuality. The sea walls and the dam are symbolic of God’s law. Our sexuality is like water, it is a wonderful gift from God. But just as water can be a blessing in measured amounts but a curse when it is uncontrolled, so too our sexuality can be a blessing when channeled, but a curse when it is unbridled. God’s laws about how we may exercise our sexuality are for our own protection and also to fulfill his spiritual and temporal purposes for sex.
I realize both men and women come to sexuality from different positions, but for this conversation we are going to tackle this from the perspective of male sexuality.
As Christian parents we should never tell our sons that they are wrong for having sexual thoughts about girls or wondering what girls look like naked. This is NOT part of their sin nature, but rather by the design of God.
We should not be discouraging our sons from using the natural release valve that God has given them for their sexuality – which is masturbation. Just like that dam needs to release pressure, so too young people need to release sexual tension through masturbation.
There is absolutely no scriptural prohibition against masturbation and contrary to popular belief the Bible is not silent on masturbation. The Bible actually recognizes that masturbation will need to occur at certain points and it regulates the cleanup of masturbation in the cleanliness laws of Israel. Check out Leviticus 15:16 – 18 where the first part is talking about a man having an emission of semen (and it’s not limited to a nocturnal emission as in Deuteronomy 23:10), then it talks about a man having an emission of semen in the act of sexual intercourse as a separate act.
Besides the fact that there is really no difference between nocturnal emissions and masturbation. A man has a nocturnal emission when he sleeps and has sexual dream. Many Christian’s have falsely taught that nocturnal emissions happen with no sexual dreaming and that is patently false. We as men will dream sexual thoughts whether we want to or not – it is by the design of God.
Josh Duggar like many Christian young people today was taught that he had to suppress his sexuality until he was married, rather than channeling it healthy ways such as masturbation. When people suppress their emotions eventually they end up acting on them in unhealthy ways and sometimes sinful ways. It no different when it comes to someone attempting to suppress their sexuality – eventually they will end up acting on it in unhealthy and sinful ways.
What will Josh be taught in rehab?
Josh Duggar has checked himself into a Reformers Unanimous Christian facility. This is actually a nationwide program that many churches use to help people deal with all types of addictions – including sexual addiction. But I am not confident that this program will work Josh, as it has not always worked for other men. I am familiar with some of their teachings as some of the Churches in the area I live host some of their programs.
This is what Josh Duggar will be taught in this program:
“If you look at any woman beside your wife and find yourself becoming aroused by her beauty or you begin to wonder what she looks like naked you need to quickly turn away or the pleasure you receive from looking at her becomes a sinful and lustful thought.
If you find yourself having any sexual imagination or sexual fantasy about any other woman than your wife you are having lustful thoughts – you need to immediately confess that sin to God and turn from those thoughts.”
Josh will be taught that God’s original intention for man in the Garden of Eden was for him to only have sexual thoughts toward a woman once he was married to her. He will be taught that God originally designed men to have a monogamous sexual nature and that their sexual desire was intended to be focused on one woman for the entirety of their lives.
He will be taught that because sin entered the world – man’s sexual nature was corrupted from a monogamous nature into a polygamous nature. He will be taught that it is the corruption of his sinful nature that causes him to desire to look at any other woman, or have sexual fantasies about any other woman than his wife.
These are two common verse of Scripture that are used in these types of Christian sexual addiction programs:
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-15 (KJV)
Josh will be taught that the root of his problem was his own lustful desire to look at other women and take pleasure from their feminine form. Then that lead to him having sexual fantasies. His sexual fantasies then lead to him going online looking to meet up with women to have sex and eventually he found some women and had sex with them.
He will be taught that the root of all his sin was him not learning to suppress his sinful desire to look at any other woman but his wife.
Lust is not sexual arousal or sexual fantasy
The first mistake that almost every Church and Christian sexual recovery program makes is in teaching an unbiblical (yet traditional) definition of lust. They define lust as a man having sexual thoughts about a woman, instead of the letting the Bible define what it is. In fact in most Christian Churches and sexual recovery programs they will give every verse on lust except this one:
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)
This verse is conveniently left out, because the Church wants to make lust into a separate category than covetousness. Covetousness is the desire to actually take possession of something or someone that you have not right to possess. God addresses this in the Ten Commandments:
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” – Exodus 20:10 (KJV)
The Pharisees only looked at outward actions and not the thoughts of the heart that proceeded those actions. This is why Christ was reminding them that covetous thoughts can proceed adultery, just as in other passages Christ shows that hateful thoughts can proceed murder. God does not just condemn sinful actions – he condemns the sinful thoughts that may or may not proceed sinful actions.
You can’t fight sexual addiction without targeting the real enemy
So where these Christian programs often fail, and even many secular programs fail is in attacking the wrong source of sexual sin.
Make no mistake, sexual addiction and sexual promiscuity are problems that we must tackle as Christians.
But the enemy is NOT our sexuality, but rather it is our addictive and compulsive behavior.
We don’t tell food addicts that food is their enemy, but rather their addictive and compulsive behavior toward food and the same concept applies to our God given sexuality.
Men have visual and polygynous sexual natures whether we want to admit it or not
Josh Duggar like many other men has a very high sex drive and natural need for variety. And by variety I mean a variety of women.
“the average man’s brain is sexually stimulated by visual cues and is built for variety…
Using functional MRI scans, researchers examined the brains of young men as they looked at pictures of beautiful women. They found that feminine beauty affects a man’s brain at a very primal level – similar to what a hungry person gets from a good meal or addict gets from a fix. One of the researchers said, “This is hard core circuitry. This is not a conditioned response.” Another concluded, “Men apparently cannot do anything about their pleasurable feelings [in the presence of beauty]”
Dr. Walt Larimore, MD – pg. 99 “His Brain, Her Brain”
Dr. Walt Lairmore (a Christian physician) stopped short of coming to the conclusion that we know is true from looking at the Bible as well as men from a mental and physical perspective. Men are wired to seek out a variety of women, men are wired to be polygynous (to be a husband to multiple wives).
But because the Roman Empire passed laws that over several centuries greatly diminished the practice of polygamy and enshrined monogamous marriage in Western culture we have the situation where we force polygynous men into monogamous marriages.
In essence when we ask a man to vow to only love one woman, and only have sex with one woman we are asking him to vow to suppress his natural God given desire to have multiple wives. Most men except for the few that have the gift of celibacy have polygynous natures whether they consciously realize it or not.
Some Christian husbands will take offense at what I just said and say “I only love my wife and I have and have never had any desire to take another wife”. But the truth is in most cases these husbands are simply lying to themselves and they have spent so many years telling themselves this because this is what their church and the female side of our society expects from men.
Other Christian men recognize their polygynous desires but they dismiss these desires as a corruption of their God given male nature – in essence they are convinced this is part of their sinful nature or they are trained to by Christian sexual recovery programs like the one Josh Duggar is currently attending to believe this. So they spend their entire lives asking God to forgive them anytime they are aroused by another woman or wonder what another woman beside their wife looks like naked. Every time they have a sexual fantasy or dream they are asking God to forgive them, in essence they live in a perpetual state of war not with their sinful nature, but with their God given sexual nature.
Five reasons Josh Duggar could have fell into sexual immorality
Josh Duggar is not the first Christian husband to watch porn and masturbate and then get on dating sites and finally meet up with women to have sex. To say this same scenario has occurred with thousands of other men or even more would be an understatement.
Here are five reasons Josh Duggar and so many others Christian husbands fall into this type of sexual immorality.
They allowed their sexuality to dominate and overpower their lives, rather than controlling and channeling their sexuality within the bounds of God’s law and design.
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)
Many Christian men rather than controlling and channeling their God given male sexuality – have allowed it to overpower them and control their life. The results of unbridled and uncontrolled sexuality are on display before us in what happened to Josh Duggar.
They allowed their normal visual sexual arousal and imagination to turn into covetousness
Again there is not one passage of the Bible that condemns a man’s visual arousal or sexual imagination. Not one. But what can happen is men can allow that natural visual arousal and imagination to turn into covetous thoughts as we see happened with Josh Duggar.
They allowed their faulty view of their own sexuality to rationalize their sin
I can’t tell you how often I get accused by my fellow conservative Christians of rationalizing sin because of my teachings (based on the Bible) about polygamy, lust and sexuality. But the real rationalizing of sexual sin goes something like this.
Because most Christian Churches and sexual addiction programs teach that a man is committing mental adultery by watching porn or being sexually aroused by any kind of female imagery many Christian men rationalize – “If I am already committing adultery by viewing porn, I might as well do the real thing and have sex with an actual woman instead of just imagining it”.
So in essence the false interpretation of Matthew 5:28 that they have been taught actually promotes sin rather than discouraging it. Christ was saying in Matthew 5:28 if a man looks on a woman “to lust after her” – to covet her (to think about how he would might take possession of her) then he has committed adultery with her in his heart. He was not condemning sexual arousal and sexual imagination as these are part of his natural design of male sexuality.
They allowed their natural polygynous nature to be corrupted into a promiscuous nature
As I mentioned previously God has created men as naturally polygynous creatures, but our sin nature wants to corrupt our God given polygynous nature into a promiscuous nature.
Even in the ancient times of the Bible not every man was able to act on his polygynous nature. For the most part only wealthier men were able to act on their polygynous natures by having more than one wife. Many less wealthy men were fortunate if they could have even one wife. Often poor men or men that were slaves were not able to have wives at all.
But what happens often is when men find themselves frustrated by not being able to find a wife, or even men that have wives desiring more wives they turn to promiscuous activities like going to prostitutes or whorish women.
Because their wives have sexually denied them
Some men because their wives sexually deny, or severely restrict how often or what ways they may have sex feel justified in seeking sex with other women. In their hurt and frustration they act out in sinful ways. But one sin never justifies another. Just as a woman does not have the right to deny her husband sex because of sinful things he might be doing, in the same way a husband does not have the right to go out and have sex with other women because his wife is sexually denying him or not fully giving herself sexually to him. We don’t know if Josh’s wife was sexually denying him, but even she was this does not justify him going out and having sex with other women.
So what is the answer for Christian men like Josh Duggar?
Let me just reiterate when I say “Christian men like Josh Duggar” I am not singling him out in any way trying to say he is some rare case – the only difference is that he was public figure. All of us as Christian men should have the sixteenth century reformer John Bradford’s attitude toward Josh Duggar’s sin – “there but for the grace of God go I”.
Here are six ways we as Christian men can avoid falling into the same sexual immorality that Josh Duggar did:
We must hide God’s Word in our heart
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – Psalm 119:11 (KJV)
We can’t distinguish between our sinful nature and the nature God designed us with without knowing God’s Word. God’s Word is the “Cannon” or measure by which we must judge our actions.
We must take every thought captive to Christ
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – II Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)
Any thought that we have we run through the filter of Christ and his Word. Oh and for those who always ask me “Would Christ allow himself to have sexual thoughts about a woman” – Christ had the gift of celibacy rather than the gift of sexuality. It would have gone against his mission from God to be married (despite conspiracy theories to the contrary).
Accept our male sexual nature
As Christian men we must accept our male nature (including our sexual nature) as God designed it. Our fight is against our sin nature, not our male nature.
We must fight against sexual excess
We cannot allow ourselves to be over-powered by our own male sexuality. Satan wants to take a good thing God created – our sexuality – and turn it against us to destroy our families and our lives. We should not suppress our sexuality, but at the same time we must channel it to experience it within the bounds of God’s law.
We must fight against covetousness
We must fight against our flesh that wants to take our normal sexual desires, our visual sexual arousal and our imagination(all which are gifts from God) and turn them into covetous thoughts which eventually could lead us into fornication or adultery.
We must depend on God’s strength
We cannot fight against the sinful desires of flesh in our own strength or will power we can only fight our flesh with the help of the power of God.
“But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.” – Psalm 22:19 (KJV)
Josh Duggar PhotoSource: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96024429@N00/17781684170/in/photostream/
JimBob and Michelle Duggar PhotoSource: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/Jim_Bob_%26_Michelle_Duggar.jpg