I had an initial reaction to the story of Josh Duggar having an Ashley Madison account last week but I wanted to wait for more details and really collect my thoughts on this. There is so much I have to say on this that I will need to divide into several articles. In this first one we will deal with “the apology”.
As most people expected after the announcement of his Ashley Madison account Josh Duggar admitted to cheating on his wife. So far one porn star has come out admitting to having sex with him while his wife was pregnant.
John Duggar himself made these admissions:
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” he wrote. “I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.”
Those who are enemies of the Christian faith and the Christian morals that Josh Duggar and his whole family espouse are rejoicing in his failings while at the same time disparaging his wife for supporting him and not immediately filing for divorce.
I support the Duggar family – Josh’s family as well as his extended family including his parents and I am praying for them during this dark hour.
A mistake that many non-believers and even some Christians make is to think that just because we believe in God’s law, his ways and his standards that somehow we will never fall short or fail to live up to those standards.
We as believers fail to live up to God’s Word each and every day of our lives and that is why we need his forgiveness each day.
And make no mistake – If Josh has truly sought God’s forgiveness – grieving over his sin –God has already forgiven him. What may take longer is for his wife to forgive him and really for him to forgive himself.
Who does Josh Duggar really owe an apology to?
While Josh feels he has to apologize to his wife, his children, his family and the whole world I am going to refer to another high profile occurrence of adultery that occurred in the Bible and the prayer admission of sin and request for forgiveness that was offered by that man:
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
Psalm 51:1-13 (KJV)
The key verse in this as to whom forgiveness is sought from is found in Psalm 51:4:
“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight”
King David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba didn’t go running around to each of his wives (he had several other wives) and apologize to them for “cheating on them”.
King David didn’t go apologize to his children.
King David didn’t go apologize to country men, he made no proclamation to Israel telling them how he had let them all down.
King David apologized to God. I believe if King David had not had Bathsheba’s husband killed – he would have owed him an apology as well for violating his wife. But since Uriah was already dead – King David really only did owe God an apology. You can see his full admission of guilt, and his request for the Lord to restore him.
In fact King David says something here that might shock us today in light of Josh Duggar’s actions – in verse 13 he says this:
“Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
Wow! He is asking God to forgive him – so he can get back to teaching the people God’s ways. God did not say to David – “Ok now after committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband killed, you need to go hide in some deep dark place and never speak in my name again”. No God forgave David! He restored him. David ended up writing some of the most beautiful passages of Scripture in the Psalms that mankind has ever seen!
Doesn’t Josh owe his wife an apology for cheating on her?
The reason that David did not owe his wives an apology for his sin with Bathsheba is because the vows he made to them were very different. The most common vow that a Jewish husband made to his wife when they married was “food, clothing and bed”. This was based on Moses command in Exodus 21:10-11.
There was not a vow that he would love them only and no other woman, or that he would never have sexual relations with another woman.
David’s sin was the sin of adultery but it was adultery against God and Uriah (the husband of Bathsheba). Biblically speaking adultery was a property crime against the husband of the wife a man had sex with. The most literal meaning of adultery in the Old Testament and New Testament is “a man having sex with another man’s wife” – it always has at its center a married woman. In the New Testament Christ expanded the definition of adultery saying that a man committed adultery against his wife when divorced her for reasons that God does not allow. So in essence he dishonors her, and causes her to dishonor herself (when she marries another man) if he divorces her without a proper cause that God allows for.
But in the case of Josh Duggar’s wife Anna – he does owe her an apology because of the fact that he took our modern vows of monogamous marriage. He vowed not to love or have sex with any other woman but Anna and he broke that vow, thus he owes his wife an apology for breaking it and I am sure that he has already apologized and asked for her forgiveness for breaking those vows.
If Josh was still working for the organization he was with where I am sure he signed a morality clause then he might have owed them an apology for breaking that clause and bringing shame on their organization.
But my point in this is – I don’t think Josh needs to run around apologizing to the whole world for what he did. He has sought God’s forgiveness, his wife’s forgiveness and that is all the apologies that he owes.
The Consequences of Sin
While it is true that God forgave David and restored him his sin had some consequences. God spoke these consequences through the prophet Nathan:
“Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife… Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”
II Samuel 12:10-14 (KJV)
Josh Duggar shut down his Ashley Madison account back in May. But just like with King David’s sin, God saw fit to reveal what Josh Duggar did and God shamed him before the world, as he did King David. If Josh had not lost his job over the previous scandal he certainly would have lost it over this.
If Josh were a Pastor or a Deacon he would have forfeited his position because of the requirement that a Pastor “must be blameless” or above reproach.
Josh has certainly lost the respect of many people because of this. He may even loose his marriage because of this.
So what am I defending about Josh Duggar? I certainly am not defending him seeking out women to have sex with on AshleyMadison.com. I am not defending that he slept with at least one woman that we know of and there may be more revealed in the future.
What I am defending about Josh Duggar is his faith and his God. I am defending the Scriptures which he spoke and the stands for traditional marriage and against gay marriage that he took. God’s Word is just as true today as it was before this scandal broke. I am defending the concept of God’s forgiveness and how it applies to ALL sin – even sexual sin.
There is no question that Josh Duggar sinned against God. But he does not owe you or me an apology. He needs to admit his sin and seek God’s forgiveness (which I think he has already done).
God says in his Word:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – I John 1:9 (KJV)
He needs to apologize to his wife for breaking his vow of monogamous marriage and she needs to forgive him as Christ commands us all to do:
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)
But if she forgives as God would have her – does that mean she stays with him and does not divorce him? That is a larger question. See my post “Does God allow divorce for Adultery” for a larger discussion on that topic.
This sin committed by Josh Duggar does not have to mean his life is over with or that he needs to hide in some deep dark hole for the rest of his life. It does not mean he can’t tell others about Christ, or teach his children and others about God and his ways just as King David continued to do after he committed adultery with Bathsheba. While his actions would disqualify him from a leadership position (Pastor or Deacon) in a church, it does not disqualify him from continuing to serve Christ in other ways.
The story of King David tells us two things that relate to Josh Duggar’s sin. The first is that Good men, great men of God have committed sexual immorality. The second is that when they acknowledged their sin before God he restored them and if God forgives and restores Josh Duggar we have no right as the body of Christ to ostracize our brother in Christ.