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Forgiveness“And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them: ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.'” (John 8:7 ESV)

I’m disappointed in myself this afternoon.  I’ve just got done reading Hugh Halter’s book on Holy Nonjudgment, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t find myself right back in the position of “Pharisee In Chief” today.

Perhaps you’ve seen the latest controversy surrounding Josh Duggar, the eldest son of the “19 Kids and Counting” crew on TLC.  It’s been a bad few months for Josh.  Not long ago information came to light showing that he had molested multiple girls (including some of his own sisters) when he was a teenager.  At that point, he was ceremoniously crucified on Twitter and in the news media.

Then earlier this week, a group of hackers made public the names of individuals that they had obtained from hacking into a private adult website.  This website, which I won’t name here, specializes in facilitating extra marital affairs.  As it turns out, Josh Duggar was a paid patron of this website.  This afternoon he admitted not only to cheating on his spouse, but to having an addiction to pornography as well.

Uh oh.

The reaction has been predictable.  People on the political left, even many people who term themselves “progressive Christians” love to jump on any perceived impropriety involving the Duggars, who have been presented as a paragon of Christian moral virtue.

I participated in this.  I cracked jokes on twitter.  I took a kind of perverse glee in this latest happening.  In short, I found myself standing in the crowd, ready to throw a stone.

It seems for my big talk and all my reading, I had learned nothing.

It seems like we’re perfectly ok with the “judge not” theory when the person being judged is on “our side,” but when they’re not, we line up to throw our stones too.  We desire mercy for ourselves and judgment for others.

Talk about being convicted, talk about a kick in the spiritual teeth!

And you know what?  It took another person on twitter to call me out.  Now I don’t know Meg all that well, but we’ve had many meaningful conversations.  Her beliefs about things come from a different place than mine, and I respect her greatly. Today she spoke with wisdom to me, and I’m glad she did.

Look, is it wrong to point out the hypocrisy inherent in publicly saying gay people are destroying marriage while you’re cheating on your spouse?  Is it wrong to call him out for particular political stances that have material effects on others?  No.

But is it wrong to rejoice in a massive breach of privacy because it gives us “ammunition” in our own little culture war?  Yes. Is it wrong to take glee and joy in this man’s (or anyone’s) personal failings? Yes.

Josh Duggar is a human being just like all of us. He has a family that will figure into this as well. Disagreeing with him on any number of things doesn’t change that.  He has done some pretty despicable things, including sex offenses. I don’t need to tell him that stuff is wrong. It’s not for me to condemn him. There is one true and right Judge, and it ain’t me.

But His grace and mercy apply to Mr. Duggar just as it does to me, and I need to put down my stones and act like it. We all do.

So I’ll thank Meg for throwing the ball into my own court on this.  It’s SO EASY to just go with the crowd and throw the stones, especially on Twitter and other social media sites.  Will you join me in trying to police ourselves instead of piling on and denigrating others?

I pray that I will be forgiven for my actions and thoughts, and I’ll also pray for Mr. Duggar and his family, that they can get the help that they need.