Josh Duggar and the Problem We All Have

Josh Duggar & the problem we all have //

Well, so here it is.

After Josh Duggar molested a number of girls and got caught a number of times, he went on TV, got himself a wife, and sold purity and courtship and not kissing until marriage. We all watched as his dad gave him a purity talk, which we now know, he did solely for the camera, because he knew full well that his son had a great deal more sexual knowledge and experience and sin under his belt than either of them let on.

And now– sadly– we know that while Josh was trumpeting family values, he was full-on pursuing adultery.

And with that, another idol of the Christian community bites the dust.


Though the news did not surprise me, it did sadden me. My heart did flip-flops. It’s a similar feeling to the one I got when the Bill Cosby stories began breaking… sick to my stomach… so incredibly, gut-wrenchingly sorry for his wife… saddened at the depravity our sinful hearts will lead us to… but ultimately, certain of its veracity.

But you know what else that news drives me to do? Oh, sister… fellow mom… friend… Sister/Brother in Christ… it makes me look in my own heart and see the foul wickedness right here.

The reason I was certain of the veracity of the stories is because I know the wickedness that resides here in my ugly human heart, and the ugly sins that want to take up ever-increasing real estate in my soul.

The whole thing reminds me of something the Apostle Paul said:

 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  ~1 Corinthians 10:13

It’s not just Josh Duggar’s problem.
It’s yours, and mine.

  • We all, in our flesh, want to hide our sins.
  • We all, in our flesh, want people to adore us.
  • We all, in our flesh, want our strengths to be celebrated, and our weaknesses to be discreetly tucked away in some supposedly-confidential place where we can indulge.

You wanna know the most revolutionary thing we can do with our sin?

  • OWN IT.
  • CALL IT WHAT IT IS. (which, by the way, I haven’t seen Josh do. In one confession, he “made mistakes.” In this last one, he “became unfaithful.”) Folks, we need to use God’s language about our sin. 

[Update 8/20/15: mid-day, he released a revised statement that does call it “sin” and no longer uses the wording above.]

Today, I’m asking again… as I do every time “another one bites the dust”…

  • What lies am I believing?
  • Are there sins I’m willing to live with and ignore?
  • Are there sins I’m minimizing with unbiblical language?
  • How is Christ currently changing me? Or have I –God forbid! Help me never to do this!– used him as a formula and then gone on with “my” life?

Help us, God, not to treat your ways as a formula. Help us to submit ourselves to the painful, whole-heart renovation You seek to do in us. Help us run from externals and never ever ever be satisfied with rule-keeping.

And, P.S. Lord???… give his wife Anna huge heaps of wisdom and grace and a safe cocoon of people to minister to her deep places right this minute. Oh, what a hard road it is to walk as a follower of Jesus.

I’m sitting here, in the post-Duggar-news-gutpunch 2.0, asking the Lord to draw out my sin and help me to be a willing exposer of my own sin, rather than one who conspiratorially hides it.

I want to– continually– live in the light!

It’s so painful sometimes… because we see all the ugliness that goes so well-hidden in the dark… but honestly facing up to our sin is the only way we grow.

I’m reminded of this quote from John Owen:

Be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”


As I wrote last night about this scandal,

There is nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing NOTHING our children need more than Jesus and His whole renovation of their hearts. 

Not homeschooling.
Not outward conformity.
Not courtship.
Not “purity” until marriage.
Not a good job.
Not a single thing.

Father, give our children Your Son, Your Spirit… Your life… Your righteousness… 

Not self-righteousness.
Not looking good.
Not celebrity.
Not fame.
Not money.
Not positions.

Give them the sweet Lord Jesus.

He’s the only One that is without sin.
Life in Him is the only hope any of us, including Josh Duggar, have. 



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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast ( I write and wrangle kids.

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33 Responses

  1. Molly says:

    Amen and thank you. What a tragedy for that family. It’s hard to see in the muck and mire how God will use it for His glory but one thing we can rest on is that He is trustworthy and faithful – even when we are not. Continue to pray for Josh that he will own it and repent. We are praying for courage, mercy and a Christ-like spirit for his sweet wife and children. It hurts my heart to think of her pain in the midst of all this!

  2. Holly says:

    Wow……this is the best 2mins I have had today. This writer nailed it, beautifully written!! I will be praying for Josh to accept and ask for forgiveness and then learn. I will also be praying for Anna, the kids, and the entire extended family.

  3. Lori says:

    I’m just now finding out about this news but as Children of the Most High King some of your comments and statements are sounding very judgemental. “I’ll be praying that Josh accepts accountability and repent”?!? First you wrote how we are ALL sinners then in the next few lines you wrote about your concern and how you will be praying for him to accept accountability and repent. This sounds like a gossip column hidden with Christian verbiage. Yes we should be praying for them. Period. God knows what they need. You don’t need to write what “You” think they need prayer for. Especially as brothers and sisters of Christ. We all have fallen short of the Glory. Thankfully, most of us will never know what it is like to live in a glass house.

    • Jess Connell says:

      I don’t know what you’re referring to but I don’t believe I made the statements you’re calling out. (If I’m wrong, let me know.) That said, I’m sorry you dislike the tone. This is today’s headline news, so there’s nothing gossipy about it, unless talking about the news and thinking biblically about it is gossip. As a disciple and homeschooling mom I try to think biblically about these things, and I want to spur others on to that as well.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Lille says:

        Jess, I am in full agreement with everything you said. As believers, we are called to remain ever vigilant of the sins, pitfalls, and painful consequences of our actions. You’ve stated that truth in love. Thank you.

      • Elspeth says:

        No Jess, you did NOT make the statements that Lori accused you of making. I even went back and re-read to be certain.

        When idols fall, one of two things happen: We draw closer to God in repentance, or we fight and defend our idols and our right to hold on to them.

        Your response and call for self-examination is a very appropriate one. Would that my own initial response was as godly and full of humility.

        • Jess Connell says:

          Thanks. The accusation with quote marks really threw me off. :)

          What you said is right– God will not be mocked and He will not share His glory with anything or anyone. Like Dagon in 1 Samuel 5, He will knock down every idol… they will all fall before the one true God. In the end, only He will receive and be seen as truly glorious.

    • jon says:

      Uh did you even read the article?

    • Kim says:

      I got the feeling that this article was heading more toward the final statement of Paul in Galatians 6:1 than toward judgment. Paul tells Christians exactly what to do when one of us is caught in sin. “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one, in a spirit of gentleness; EACH ONE LOOKING TO YOURSELF, SO THAT YOU TOO WILL NOT BE TEMPTED…” So much hurt in this sad situation and our responsibility IS to pray for all involved and to look to ourselves. Our prayer is that he and his family and all he has offended WILL get the biblical counsel and accountability needed to restore their souls. And our prayer for ourselves is that we will be busy examining our own hearts, asking God to help us mortifying our own sin as the John Owens quote suggested.

    • Cheryl Lutz says:

      Stumbling Blocks

      7“Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! JESUS

  4. Jenn says:

    I really appreciated your thoughts on this….been pondering it all day and found myself also asking “Is it I , Lord?” In other words, where are my faults and areas that may be hidden….we all can learn and grow (on purpose). God loves Josh Duggar too much to leave him in sin….there is always hope. Thanks again for your perspective!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Great reference– “is it I, Lord?” It’s so much better for us to have this self-evaluation and awareness of our own weakness rather than feeling as if we can somehow look down on a fellow sinner and sit and Monday-morning quarterback all the things “they” did wrong.

      Help us, Lord, to be humble learners rather than proud accusers and judges.

  5. Dede says:

    I agree Jess.

  6. Audrey says:

    Any person who cheats on their spouse wants to. Plain and simple. It is not that hard not to cheat. It almost seems more complicated to live the double life. Josh choose that and now he is using Satan as a scape goat. He could have said nothing and it all would have been old news before too long. Instead by him releasing an admittance statement he has eliminated the chance of privacy for his family while they deal and heal. He should really stop making statements and talking of forgiveness and Satan. Yes we all need God but his disgraced butt should not be the reason we are all reminded of that! His family had a platform and he has managed to ruin it within a matter of months!

  7. It was a very sad day for Christianity and difficult to put our thoughts into what happened. My husband spent a few hours putting his thoughts into writing. Here they are if you’re interested.

  8. Jeanette says:

    Thank you….. We all sin and our hearts are desperately wicked. I was tired of the self righteous take on this subject . I understand the wordly media on their self righteousness, but reading the same from Christian blogs just bothered me .. We need to lift up our fellow believers in prayer and look at our own hearts.

  9. Jess Connell says:

    Here’s a 3-minute John Piper video where he talks about the passions that prevent adultery:

    I love it.

    Lord, burn your ways into my heart. Keep me walking in your ways. Be the Shepherd that draws me nearer and nearer! Help me constrain my heart to trust your pastures and borders for me and never to look longingly at other pastures and places.

  10. Tim says:

    Solid observations. Being transparent and being accountable to your spouse and church is paramount.

  11. Yes, I agree with you. We are so quick to judge another’s sin and so not ready to admit our own. Even Christians can’t admit to others for fear of being judged. I have so much to be thankful for that God has healed me from and of but I never think that I’m “there” or have “arrived”. Why can’t we share our inner most fears, and shortfalls. Because we all think the other person is a worse sinner than we are! God help us all. Keep up the good work

  12. Lisa says:

    I worked for a Christian non-profit that counseled individuals with pornography and sexual addiction issues. Addiction is an escalating issue as is abuse. I have lost a family member to domestic violence and have had friends in abusive marriages where pornography and extramarital affairs were involved.

    I don’t feel this is about judging his ‘sin’. Let’s be realistic. He is caught. He’s scrambling. He’s not sorry. His behaviors would not have changed had this not been made public. He had a chance at transparency and accountability months ago with the molestation confession. This isn’t an issue of questioning anyone’s faith, beliefs, or pointing the finger. He was wearing sheep’s clothing and we were all deceived.

    Anna Duggar and her children are in danger. I believe she is a wounded, manipulated and naive young woman. She needs serious counseling away from Josh before she starts taking blame personally for his behaviors which is exactly what happens to victims.

    The reality is that God does not want His children to be abused in anyway or suffer continued infidelity. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want His children to be dishonored, lied to, left heartbroken. He wants our marriages to mirror His relationship with the church.

    • Jess Connell says:

      I agree with much of what you’ve written. My goal here is not to counsel Anna Duggar (to my knowledge, she has never read my writing and it seems unlikely that she would), but to internalize and process this as a believing woman… as a homeschooler… as a mother… as a wife.

      If there are women reading who are in a similar situation, their first step needs to be to protect their children and themselves, and to seek biblical counseling (not simply Christian counseling, or psychological help). This is not healthy or right and is certainly not “no big deal.”

      While I — as a believer — DO think “there but by the grace of God go I”… genuinely… I believe a wife in this situation needs to think very carefully with godly advisers who love her and care for her SOUL about what she is to do.

      As to Josh’s state of mind, I am not qualified or in a position to judge that. From the outside, it appears that this is– at least initially– a situation of sorrow because one has been caught. BUT– because God has changed my heart so radically through getting caught, I do not think he is hopeless. In my own experience with stealing (“shoplifting”) as a youth, God used getting CAUGHT as the instigator for heart change for me, so that I truly never wanted to steal again. But it took getting caught as a wake-up call for me.

      I just don’t feel this is the proper venue at all for me… or others… to be quarterbacking on what Anna Duggar should do, or what she and her children need. That is her concern and something those closest to her should be, and I’m sure are, concerning themselves with.

      My goal here is to internalize these large-scale events and consider how God might use them to help me evaluate my own heart rightly, and how He would help me shape my children in light of these lessons.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  13. Lisa says:

    Very good article. I loved the questions to search our own hearts. I am also praying for Anna and her 4 children.

  14. shannon bradbury says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I don’t think we need to be surprised.. it didn’t just happen overnight but a conscience chose every time to choose sin. I am praying for my heart that I won’t hide my sin, Anna, and my children that they will “flee” sexual immorality.

  15. Natalie says:

    Thank you for this article. It was convicting and really made me think. With our oldest son, now graduated, I relied too much on sheltering. Somehow, in my ignorance, I thought that he would continue to maintain our same boundries as he went out on his own. I was disappointed to see my expectations were not in line with reality.
    Your statement about what our children really need is a clear proclamation of what this tragedy has driven into my heart. I considered the atmosphere of the Duggar home the “ideal” of what a home ought to be. Now I see that even in the “perfect” home situation…we are completely dependent on God’s power and grace. I “knew” this before, but now I really KNOW it.
    I pray that this very sad situation would humble the people of God and that we would recognize our complete dependence on the Lord in every area. That we would put no confidence in the flesh, in our methods or parenting formulas, but on God’s power alone.

  16. Julie says:

    Jess, thanks for these reminders to remember and confess sin. This was helpful to me last night, as I thought about the sins God has been showing me, and confessed them.

    My mind then went to the other side of the coin, or the great hope that we have: if Christ lives in me, and if I am daily walking in step with Him, I will NOT commit that gross immorality that Josh committed. I don’t even want to think that “that could be me”, because His Word promises me that I DON’T NEED to sin. The power that raised Christ from the dead is available to me so that I can live in victory over sin – Christ in me, the hope of glory! Hallelujah!

    • Natalie says:

      Great reminder Julie! We always have the victory in Christ Jesus! Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…

  17. anonymous says:

    Hi, Jess.
    I came to your blog because of this post, but I see you’ve written a lot on age-appropriate sex education for your children. I myself was raised pretty sheltered and was given “the talk” once and told that I could always ask questions if I needed to. I always felt too awkward to bring anything up, but was too much of a goody-two-shoes to really go finding the answers for myself. I am now in my early twenties, a homeschool graduate, with basic knowledge, but I feel ill-equipped for the future and even current life as a young woman. Do you have any suggestions for resources that teach a biblical well-balanced view on sex and even hygiene, for adults? I’m embarrassed to even have to ask.

    • Jess Connell says:

      So glad you spoke up and asked.

      Here are the two best adult-level resources I’ve found:

      If any Christian adult, man or woman, asked me for the most helpful article about sex, I would point them here:

      THE MEANING OF SEX by Jonathan Leeman — It’s long, but it is a very thoughtful presentation of a biblical, Christian understanding of why God made sex, and a helpful drawing out of many of the lessons and blessings of marital intimacy. This is a foundational piece that can help provide a good framework for thinking biblically about sex.

      If I was asked about the most helpful video teaching about sex, I would point them here:

      MARRIAGE IN GOSPEL FOCUS – I LOVE this WONDERFUL talk by Tim & Kathy Keller (I recommend each of their parts for any Christian to hear!) — This talk touches on culture & its relationship to sex, underlying beliefs of our culture, gender roles within marriage, and how the Bible & specifically the Gospel can help resolve culturally harmful ideas about sex. [Their talk is based on this book.]

      As far as hygiene goes, I would trust any unbiased (non-agenda’d) medical resource like

      For singles, Capitol Hill Baptist Church has some wonderful & biblical resources for singles grappling with gender, sex, marriage, etc.

      ACBC & CCEF are two wonderful groups (both biblical counseling organizations) that put out wonderful resources, again and again, about sexuality in a biblical context.

      Hope this helps. Thanks again!

  18. iamloved says:

    For real.

  1. August 20, 2015

    […] thankfully, Jess has already said everything perfectly, so I’m going to encourage you to read her article, […]

  2. August 25, 2015

    […] hearts.  This story frankly reveals the intention of our hearts apart from Christ.  And, this one challenges us to consider who we are as we face the new revelations about Josh Duggar’s […]

  3. September 30, 2015

    […] This question came in response to my post about the Josh Duggar scandals. […]

  4. December 18, 2015


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