I was lying on my bed, checking Facebook when I first heard the news about Josh Duggar inappropriately touching five young women when he was a young teenager. I was heartbroken by the news in so many ways. I was heartbroken because of the victims. I was heartbroken for the Duggar family. I was heartbroken for Josh.
Throughout the last week I’ve ruminated about my response to this, and as I’ve prayed for this family my thoughts have settled on one thing: I am FOR the Duggars. I’ve been FOR them for a while. Why?
I am FOR God-fearing families who try to model godly living in a confused and hurting world.
I am FOR young couples who choose to pray for their future spouses, marry with the goal of lifelong commitment, and strive to live for God.
I am FOR homeschooling and large families, for the goal of raising children to impact the world for Christ.
Every time Duggar news made headlines at people.com—beating out the self-serving lifestyles of Hollywood stars—I inwardly cheer. It shows people want to hear about wholesome living, young and pure love, and babies born IN wedlock.
Even after hearing news of these horrible acts, I am still FOR the Duggars.
I am FOR healing.
I am FOR forgiveness.
I am FOR restoration, taking what the enemy meant for evil and using it for God.
I haven’t talked much about sexual abuse before, but it has impacted my life. Without going into detail, I dealt with inappropriateness during my growing-up years. There was much more emotional inappropriateness than physical, but it skewed my thoughts about myself, my body and my sexuality. I grew up thinking women were objects, and the only way to have a real relationship with someone was to offer myself sexually. This led to me becoming sexually active at a very young age, having an abortion at age 15 and a child at age 17.
More than that, I’ve seen the pain sexual abuse causes. Just last year I sat in our teen MOPS meeting room with a group of young moms. We had an open conversation about sexual abuse, and I discovered nearly every one of them had been abused sexually. I saw their tears. I witnessed their pain. I heard their heartbreak. I’ve seen how abuse has wounded them to their core. Sexual abuse is from the pit of hell, and I mourn as I realize how many young women silently suffer.
I’m praying for these young women and the pain their abuse caused. I’m praying for them to find healing, and I’m praying for them to forgive. Both will happen in layers over time, but what people don’t realize is that the forgiveness isn’t just for Josh. It’s for them too. When we forgive others it brings healing and wholeness to our souls. Josh doesn’t deserve forgiveness—none of us do. But thankfully because of Jesus we don’t have to face what we DO deserve.