Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2015 Nancy Virden
Today, Josh Duggar, self-proclaimed Christian and family values activist, the oldest child in the “19 Kids and Counting” reality TV show, was caught with a paid account on a website that matches married clients to affair partners. Earlier this summer a police report came out that he had molested five children in his teens.
Sex offenders, cheaters, and porn-addicts will make myriad excuses for their behavior. Often the excuses come with some sort of half-apology. Tears may be involved.
When authority figures (such as parents, church leaders, counselors), accept these people as all-fixed, victims must question if their hurt is justified. They may, similar to Jessa and Jenna Duggar, two sisters Josh molested, talk about the offense as “it was only…” or not mention it at all.
Anna Duggar is not alone when it comes to buying an excuse in the form of an outright admission. When she first met her future husband Josh, he told her what he had done to his sisters as a young teenager. My suspicion is he laid out the excuse right away of having only been a kid who made a horrible mistake.
He was unrepentant (albeit possibly remorseful), and continued his hidden sexual behavior. Josh Duggar is not alone in being vocal about family values in a sorry attempt at sporting a respectable image.
Excuses no longer interest me. I’ve been lied to, deceived by outward images, and fooled by repeated apologies. I’ve been told to forgive and endure, and by doing so have enabled others in their excuse-making.
Repenting of my own sins teaches me there is a huge difference between “I’m sorry” and real love for God, meaningful love for spouses, and ‘love your neighbor’.
Imagine for a minute how many thousands of times Josh Duggar had to lie to keep up appearances – where he was going, how he was spending his time, “you are my one and only,” “yes, Family Research Council, I am a family man”, “Sure mom and dad, I’m all better”, and “sorry sisters, it was a teenage mistake.” He’s been proficient at lying, and very, very good at it for a long time.
He is asking for forgiveness – again. How can we ever know what to believe when faced with practiced liars who say they are really changing this time?
As a society we do not understand sex offence. It is not a normal teenage mistake, slip of control, or one-time thing. We also do not respect porn addiction as the progressive destroyer it is. (See my article, Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse?). We take unfaithfulness in marriage so lightly it is not even legal cause in fault divorces.
Yet each of these leave victims with emotional, physical, and spiritual pain and confusion. We endorse these sins by offering grace, mercy, and acceptance to the offender too fast and without proof of long-term change.
Do I believe God can change people? Yes, absolutely. My point is, wisdom will not be so quick to believe historical liars when they claim “lost control” or “something came over me” or “it’s an addiction and I can’t help it.”
Sorry is not enough.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
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