This second onslaught of breaking news surrounding the Duggar family has motivated me to write down some thoughts I’ve been milling over since the initial news reports began earlier this year.

Do these occurrences not motivate me to personal, inward introspection?

It’s funny how the news media hasn’t picked up on this. Why do the reporters and commentators not see what is staring them so plainly in the face? Are not these incidents a motivation—a call—to personal, inward introspection? A motivation for each and every one of us to look into our own, dark hearts to see what’s there and bring it out to the light of Christ’s forgiveness? Where are the calls to repentance? the exhortations to personally deal with the sins that still lies so deep and hidden within the human heart?

All the bad news has really made me think. And I can’t help but ask myself, “Am I hiding sin in my own life?” As much as this question needs to be asked, it’s as hard to answer honestly. Christianity is thought of as the standard of perfection, and if I admit to sin, how can I be a Christian?

But are Christians supposed to be perfect? Absolutely not! That’s what religion is. Not Christianity. The Christian life is not about being perfect. It’s about being forgiven. And walking daily in that forgiveness. There’s no forgiveness offered by the world. That’s why the world needs Christ! And living a forgiven life in public is how the world can know there can be forgiveness. Would I not rather be known in life as an honest sinner than a lying hypocrite?

Oh, am I willing, regardless of the cost, to be open, broken, and honest before God? Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. God can make a cornel of wheat grow and bring forth fruit abundantly—but only if that cornel has first died.

The recent news has motivated me to search my own heart. But this was only the beginning of my thoughts . . .

Do these occurrences not motivate me to desire a higher standard?

Would it not have been better if all the things had been prevented? Would a clean slate not be a better starting line than a pile of ashes?

What if I were to really consider the truth of this statement by Stephen Covey: “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

I’ve met folks whose destiny seems to have been ruined by gross immorality. How did they get started in immorality in the first place? When will we stop bemoaning problems and start pursuing prevention? Why not put a strong fence ‘round the top of the cliff instead of an ambulance down in the valley?

I find myself guilty. Why do I not pull off the highway at the first signs of warning? Why do I let impure thoughts and little compromises creep into daily life, brushing off the conscience until I cease to give it a second thought? “Oh, I can handle that”, I say. Do I laugh at immorality in jest and jokes? “It’s not the real thing.” Do I wear things that make me look cute? “It’s fashionable.” Do I justify the blaring immodesty of increasingly revealing wedding dresses? “It’s what everyone else does.” What about wearing skin-tight . . . everything? “Com’on! You’re being legalistic!”

But gross immorality had to start somewhere. I love wholesomeness in clothing because of prevention, not legalism.

Indeed, God is most interested in the heart. His love isn’t dependent on my inner motivations or outward appearances. But he loves me so much that he doesn’t want me to stay where I am. He wants to solve the problem of sin. Not just cover it up. He will forgive it! But he is as much a God of holiness as he is of forgiveness. And thankfully, by learning to hear is voice I can know what that holiness looks like. The God of truth and mercy will always do his part.

Will I do my part?

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A Haven of Rest
Sherwood Tunnel, Long Run, West Virginia

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