For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Hebrews 8:12).
In recent months we have heard a lot about the Duggar Family. For those who may not know, the Duggars, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have 19 children. They became well known some years ago when their reality TV show began on TLC (The Learning Channel). At that time they had 14 children. They now have 19. In May of 2015 their show was taken off the air when sexual abuse involving their oldest son Josh toward his sisters and several others came to light.
I have always respected Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar for their faith in God and their courage to stand up for what they believe in. It is easy to see that the Lord has truly blessed them and provided them with the means to care for their big family.
I happened to tune in to an interview with Jessa Duggar Seawald and Jill Duggar Dillard after the show went off the air. The two sisters had been innocent victims of their brother’s abuse several years previous. At the end of the interview Jill was asked; do you forgive your brother, and if so were you ever able to trust him again after this incident?
Her answer to this question pleasantly surprised me. It revealed a strong background of knowledge, based on truth, learned from Scripture. I may not have it worded exactly as she said it, but Jill answered; forgiveness and trust are not one and the same. We all need to forgive as Jesus has forgiven us, but trust has to be earned.
Is there someone in your life who has sinned against you? Have you forgiven that person? If not you should. The apostle Paul tells us; Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3: 13, 14).
It is always easier to forgive than it is to forget the incident ever happened. Sin leaves scars on our hearts and because we are human we can never completely forget. Scars do heal however, and through faith and Prayer God is able to help us forgive and move forward even as the scars remain.
Isn’t it a comfort though, to know that our God does forget!? He promises the repentant sinner that He will remember their sins no more. Our God is an awesome God!
As for the Duggars, no family is perfect. There are problems in the best of families, but when we trust in the Lord and stay connected to Him by faith through His Word and sacraments we are covered by the blood of Jesus. The debt of sin we owe to God has been paid and we are holy in His eyes. So never hesitate to forgive. If it is hard for you to do so, then pray. Ask God to give you the strength to move forward and leave the past behind.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matthew 18: 21, 22).
And remember that trust and forgiveness are two different things. It is okay to forgive, and still remain cautious regarding the behavior of that person who sinned against you. Ask the Lord to guide you into building a new trust with that person. And even if that trust is never regained, the forgiveness should remain true.
Faith, Forgiveness, Trust – Faith in Jesus and a knowledge of what He did for us leads us to forgive others, and forgiveness allows us to build trust.
We are so thankful for the outpouring of love, care and prayers for our family during this most difficult situation with Josh. As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear. Yesterday (August 26, 2015) Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center. For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change. In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future. During this time we continue to look to God—He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family.
(Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar)