Today I want to spend a little bit of time discussing a true example of God’s grace. This post is inspired by a video on Anna Duggar’s Instagram in the beginning of March regarding her husband, Josh Duggar’s, birthday. Before we dive into the meat and potatoes, I want to be clear that this post isn’t about whether her decision is right or wrong – this is about the fact that her decision exemplifies God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. I don’t want people to get the idea that Christians in any way, shape, or form condone what Josh Duggar did. This post is about the fact that sometimes grace, mercy and forgiveness are really, really, really ugly. In fact, this post isn’t really even about Josh – it’s about Anna and the work God is doing through here.
Here is the aforementioned Instagram post.
As I said, whether this is right or wrong is between her and the Lord, but you cannot deny that this grace, mercy, and forgiveness comes from God. In case you don’t know, Josh Duggar was accused of all types of heinous acts in 2015, including adultery, sexual assault, and molesting some of his sisters. At the time all of this came out, Josh and Anna had been married for seven years and had three children together (possibly four, depending on when one of them was born in 2015).
When I first saw this post, it struck up several emotions for me. Firstly, I was severely uncomfortable. Why? Because I don’t know if I would be making the same choices Anna and the Duggars are. That doesn’t make them wrong – it just makes us different people. However, the more I thought about it, the more I felt another emotion: awe. As I said, I don’t know if I would be making the same choices because I couldn’t imagine the courage it must take to offer grace, mercy, and forgiveness to Josh. He has made several grievous choices and I don’t think anyone would have blamed Anna for divorcing him and never allowing him to see his children.
Instead, Anna is choosing to believe in the restorative grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. As Christians, if we don’t believe that God can radically change everyone – yes, including adulterers and child molesters – then our faith is naught. Anna is taking the hard road to reconcile with Josh and I believe that is something that God will bless. By doing this, Anna is placing her faith in God – that He will take care of her, that He will expose the truth if need be, and that He will comfort and protect her.
Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
Firstly, a quick Google search returns this as the definition of “grace”: the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. I actually quite like this definition. From it we learn that God’s grace 1) costs us nothing, 2) we don’t deserve it, 3) saves us from our sin, and 4) blesses us. I like to think of God’s grace as receiving the blessings we don’t deserve.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all
people. Titus 2:11
The important part of this verse is the latter: “all people”. That’s right – even Josh.
Google defines “mercy” as compassion or forgiveness shown to someone when you have the power to punish or harm them. The Bible tells us that, as God’s creation, He has the power to punish us for our sins; however, He is also a merciful God and poured His wrath upon Jesus on the Cross. This spares us of His wrath. I like to think of God’s mercy as not giving us the punishment we do deserve.
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and
you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be
condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven… for with the measure
you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:36-37&38b
Anna is putting this into practice. I’m sure she knows that the world would have gladly cheered her on through out their divorce and would have encouraged her to bar him from his children for the rest of his life. But sometimes (read: often times) following God isn’t about the popular choice. In fact, I’m sure there are many people that were angered by her decision to stay.
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.
Other blog posts you may be interested in…
- 5 Things Christians Say that Aren’t Actually in the Bible
- Teaching Discernment to Your Children
- 3 Bible Characters that Encourage Me
Google defines “forgive” as to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. Again, I like this definition because it places the importance of forgiveness on the one who has been offended. It’s important to forgive others for your own well being, because no one should live their life angry and full of resentment. This definition also does not mention the offender feeling remorseful or even apologizing, because those are not vital factors in forgiveness. Do they help? Absolutely. Are they necessary? No. And thank God for that – quite literally.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were
still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Thank God that our remorse was not required for Jesus to come down to Earth and die for us! It probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father
will also forgive you… Matthew 6:14
In other words, if God can forgive you of your trespasses against Him, then you can find it in your heart to forgive others. However, it’s important to note that forgiveness will look different for everybody. I believe that Anna could have divorced Josh and still forgiven him as well. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean keeping that person in your life.
What about you? Do you have any ugly examples of showing grace, mercy, and forgiveness in your life? Does Anna’s example encourage you to show more grace, mercy, and forgiveness in your own life?