Joshua Duggar: Saul to Paul

I recently read the sensationalized coverage of the information released about Joshua Duggar’s past. While I was saddened to hear that this had occurred, it made me solidify what I know about God all the more. After reading through various articles and the comments on each, here are my thoughts on the matter.

Many people have called Joshua Duggar a hypocrite for having past sins and holding to a biblical view, especially standing against abortion and gay marriage. I firmly believe that Josh is not a hypocrite. Here’s why:

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The definition of a hypocrite is “a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs”. Being a Christian (actual, genuine, not just someone who says they believe in God or goes to church) means that you admit to God that you are not good enough, that you have failed, and that you fall below His standard of perfection and need His forgiveness. I am not God and do not know that Josh has a personal relationship with Jesus and is forgiven of his sin, but all of the evidence that I see in his life now would lead me to conclude that he does have that relationship with Jesus.

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The Bible says that you can know someone by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). Just in the same way that you look at an apple tree and identify it by its apples, in the same way you can look at a person’s life (including your own) and see if they really have a relationship with Jesus. The thing about it is that being a Christian doesn’t mean that you don’t have a past. It’s the opposite. It means that you’ve admitted to your sins and received God’s forgiveness. The fact that Josh did these crimes doesn’t mean he can’t continue to live out his faith as the Bible calls us to. The fact that he is doing it now actually proves that he has a real and genuine relationship with God and that God can do amazing things through a person who everyone else would have written off.

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In Acts 9, you read about a man named Saul who was horribly persecuting Christians. On his way with official papers to put more Christians in jail, he is blinded and Jesus calls out to him and asks Saul why he is persecuting him (Jesus). God then calls Ananias to go to Saul. Rightly, Ananias is afraid to go to Saul as he is infamous for his attacks on Christians. Ananias does trust the Lord and goes to minister to Saul. Saul is ministered to and baptized. (Note that Saul is not baptized in order to be saved or forgiven, but as an outward sign of an inward change. Just like wearing a wedding ring symbolizes that you are married but doesn’t make you married if you aren’t.)

I love this next part of the account in Acts 9:20-22. Referring to Saul, it says that ” . . . he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.”.

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While Saul had been responsible for the deaths and arrests of many, God was able to use him to do amazing things. You’re likely to know more about him if I told you God changed his name to Paul and that he wrote 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament of the Bible.

While many may have looked at Paul as they now are at Joshua Duggar, it is important to remember that God has a plan for each of our lives regardless of our past. While his actions as a 14-year-old boy were wrong, the change he has made in his life doesn’t mean he no longer has a right to make a stand. His work at the Family Research Council isn’t made null by his past. Instead, it strengthens it.

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If Josh says he is a Christian and has truly put his sins behind him and asked for forgiveness, standing up for what the Bible says actually proves that he is not a hypocrite. As I stated earlier, a hypocrite is “a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs”. If Josh didn’t stand for marriage only being between one man and one woman, against abortion, etc., then he would actually be a hypocrite. You may not like what he stands for, but his past doesn’t have anything to do with his position on the Family Research Council or anything else that he does in the future.

Another thing we have to remember is that this happened 12 years ago when he was 14. He was not an adult who has continued to prey on children, but was also legally a child himself. While he did know that his actions were wrong, he was still a child at the time and his records, as they are for all children, should have remained sealed. He was dealt with at the time and the police were notified. While by all accounts he didn’t end up in juvenile hall, etc., that wasn’t decided by the Duggar family. A judge was also involved to rule that his record be kept private (and recently destroyed) for the purpose of safeguarding the girls.

It’s sad that people are so focused on finding something wrong (even though it took years for them sitting on this story to get the information) that they would try to bash the whole Duggar family and even further victimize the girls. While some have stated that Josh should have been open about his past, you have to realize he was. No, he didn’t list it on his resume, publish it on the Duggar Family Official Facebook page or mention it during interviews. He did not hide it from those who had a right to know. His wife and her family knew about this, people at their church knew about this, but no it wasn’t and rightly should not have been something the general public was privy to details on. One of the main reasons again is for the privacy of the girls.

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I still support Josh Duggar and the whole Duggar family. I love that they boldly live out their faith rather than being hypocrites by following the flow of our culture and just going to church on Sundays. I’m saddened that this has come out because of the girls whose privacy should have been respected, but glad for the reason that this proves even more that they are who they claim: imperfect followers of Jesus who are saved by grace and seeking to share the love of Jesus with a lost and dying world on its way to Hell.

Here’s a link to Matt Walsh’s article: http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/the-duggars-arent-hypocrites-progressives-are/

#isupporttheduggars #joshduggar #teamduggar #jesuschangeslives #jesuschangedmylife #saultopaul

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