Delighting in Their Sin

The Ashley Madison hack has caused something of an internet furore: it seems everyone has something to say on the matter. There also seems to be a particular propensity to talk about one particular individual who has been ‘outed’ through the scandal – Josh Duggar. For those who are not as into American reality TV as I am(!) Josh Duggar is one of the 19 children of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, all of whom hold to values such as women wearing skirts, not using contraception and saving the first kiss until marriage.

Consequently the revelation that Josh Duggar, who worked for the Family Research Council, was a fully paid-up member of an adultery site is shocking – especially given that it comes just a few months after another revelation that he molested 5 young girls as a 14 year old. To learn that Josh had committed these particular sins has been pretty devastating for me: I loved their show and really admired a lot of the ways they conducted themselves and raised their children.

But, actually, I really shouldn’t have been surprised. Of course Josh Duggar is a sinner. To think anything else denies the gospel. Even if a person’s sin is the complete antithesis of what they proclaim to think and believe, it really shouldn’t come as an overwhelming surprise. It’s not as though there’s a cohort of society who have no need of the cross and for whom understanding the death of Jesus is simply an academic exercise rather than a desperately needed reality – whether or not they have a successful TV show.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not for a minute saying that Josh’s sins aren’t abhorrent and offensive and sickening. They are. They very much are. In fact, they are so devastating that an innocent man was crucified for them. Because of what he has done, young girls have been hurt and have had to experience the trauma of sexual abuse; his wife has been hurt and has been left (while he enters rehab) to raise their four children, including a newborn; his marriage has been hurt and trust has been shattered; and his children will be hurt in coming to terms with this when they’re older.

Which leads me to ask – why do people seem so happy about it? In the same breath people seem to be able to express both horror at what he has done, and delight that he has done it and seemingly fallen from grace. It basically goes ‘What you’ve done is disgusting, and I’m so glad because now I get to call you disgusting’. I even saw one link to the story on Facebook which described it as ‘gold’. ‘Gold’ it most certainly is not. To molest young girls is not gold. To commit adultery is not gold. To be culpable in the death of Jesus is not gold. It is very, very dark.

So why are people finding so much joy in the sins of Josh Duggar? This delight seems mainly to come from those who find the Duggars and their views and way of life disagreeable – even offensive. There seems to be an almost euphoric wave of people pointing out what a hypocrite Josh Duggar has been – all the while missing their own hypocrisy in being so overjoyed that Josh Duggar committed such sins and hurt so many people in, what they are very quick to point out, are such grotesque actions.

Of course, no one would admit to being delighted that young girls have been molested and a husband has been unfaithful to his wife – but to revel in the revelations of Josh’s sins is, ultimately, to revel in his sin. Because had he not committed these sins, these stories would have never broken and light would not have been shed upon them. If we truly grieve these sins, we would grieve all their effects too – even if the effect is someone we don’t agree with or find offensive having their sin revealed.

And the ultimate effect is that Jesus died for Josh Duggar’s sins. And whilst we delight in the freedom that the cross brings us, and in the righteousness that it can bestow on us, we should be devastated at the cost. When we consider the crown of thorns, the beatings, the nails, the blood, the forsakenness – surely this brings us to a place of thankfulness for what Jesus endured to save us from the wrath of God. But when we consider it ‘gold’ that Josh Duggar has committed adultery and we can’t wait to point the finger at the hypocrisy, or when we simply find it a good story to have a gossip about, we stand loud among the mockers at Calvary, laughing at what Christ endured because of sin.

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