Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Josh Duggar's Demise, Part 2

The latest Josh Duggar scandal--a Christian catastrophe--is shattering enough to write about not once, but a few times, as we glean what we can from it and move forward as a Church body.

In this post I want to flesh out Satan's role a bit more in Josh's demise, and then in another post I want to respond to the woman who asserted that Anna Duggar's parents failed to empower her, and that as mothers we should be teaching our daughters to "breathe fire".

If Anna decided to divorce her husband the Church would not stand in her way due to the adultery, though if she entered what's called a covenant marriage, (legal in three states) she would have to go to counseling for a couple years with Josh before deciding to leave him. I know nothing about the nature of their union, but I feel confident she's not actually stuck. If he proved to be unrepentant over time, she would undoubtedly do what her prayers tell her is best for her children.

For the record, I'm personally trying hard to mercy Josh Duggar, who my heart wants to despise. As a Christ follower I know hating him is not an option for me, anymore than it is for his wife, parents, siblings, in-laws, or church family.

Josh is not off the hook by our mercy, however. Church discipline is waiting for him, I imagine, which I pray will completely humble him before his Savior and fellow Christians. His hardest fight yet, which he may have already begun in May--after canceling his Ashley Madison accounts in the wake of the molestation scandal--is to fully repent and allow God to heal him from his sexual addictions.

What's sure to prove true is that Satan will not let go of Josh easily.

Addiction is the ugliest of human problems, stealing the soul and leaving massive destruction in its wake. It starts with one poisonous thought put in us by the enemy: I deserve this.

~ I deserve more clothes, more furniture, a nicer home or car...
~ I deserve the most exciting and thrilling intimate experience imaginable...
~ I deserve my computer time...my gaming time..
~ I deserve a "high"...to have a little fun and feel uninhibited...
~ I deserve all the comforts the world has to offer...
~ I deserve social media because all the other people are doing it... (a popular teen mantra)

What do humans really deserve? Hell.

Period.

Though I need to qualify this with a heavy side note: This sentiment of what we deserve need not be an excuse to enable someone in their addiction, or to allow people to abuse us. We aren't supposed to participate in the sins of others (including as victims) and both addiction and abuse are sins. As such, distancing and protecting ourselves from these people is sometimes absolutely necessary and healthy and moral. Additionally, we should do everything we can to secure the release of moral prisoners, such as those caught in human trafficking. As people created in the image of God we do deserve dignity, and so we should do everything we can to fight spiritual and physical poverty.

We are the created and our destiny is in the Creator's hands. The gift of free will can sometimes make it seem like we have control, but choice is not the same thing as control. The Creator holds ultimate, overriding power in our lives and in the universe.

Those using Ashley Madison accounts thought they had control, but God's proven otherwise.

As Believers, we enjoy the knowledge that he works all things for our good. What this really means is that He molds our hearts so that our will eventually intersects with his. What it doesn't mean is that things will always be easy. It's our ultimate good he's after, not always our immediate good.

What does God our Creator offer us, and what did he offer Adam and Eve?

He offers everything our souls truly crave: Eternity and beautiful, soul-deep fellowship with Him, both in Heaven and while we wait for him here. A few encounters with Him are not enough; we need continual fellowship to benefit from the soul food he offers, and it's only when we break fellowship with Him and hide or deny our sins instead of confess them, that Satan gains a stronghold.

One of the best defenses against Satan besides prayer and bathing in the Word? It's to hold captive for Christ the thought that we deserve a particular thing. Another important and related defense is gratitude. The grateful person does not seek pleasure as a false god.

The Ashley Madison hacking was orchestrated by God, I believe, to give the Church and the nations a wake-up call. Let's pray it works. Not only are there suspected suicides from it, but divorce attorneys, therapists, and even pastors will have plenty of work in the coming few years, as God cleans house.

Before the Ashley Madison scandal leaves the news cycle, we need to ask ourselves...what does he need to clean up in my heart? 

Name it, gouge it, and pray it out of your life.