A few thoughts on Josh Duggar, last chances, and the mercy of God

Thinking this morning about Josh Duggar’s continuing and nauseating fall, I was struck by the timeline of events.

For “the last few years”: Josh has been unfaithful to his wife, including maintaining accounts on the Ashley Madison website. (Slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair.”)

May 2015: Media outlets break the news of Josh’s teenage molestation of several girls more than a decade earlier.

Presumably, thousands of Christians pray that Josh’s claims of repentance are genuine and that God would have mercy on him and his family.

August 2015: As a result of a bizarre hack of Ashley Madison’s records, the world learns of Josh’s ongoing infidelity.

As Jonah learned in the belly of a whale, sometimes God’s last chances don’t look like grace at first glance. I wonder if this summer’s prayers for undeserved mercy for Josh–from thousands of recipients of their own undeserved mercy–moved Heaven to offer one last chance out of the cesspool into which he was sinking. Perhaps being caught, publicly, in ongoing and vile sin, was the only thing that could shake him into true repentance. We should pray that he takes the opportunity seriously. “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6). No one but God can say when the last chance to repent has passed, but what an awful threshold that would be.

And to the guy out there who is using the failings of a famous Christian to justify your own sin (because I know someone is thinking just that)–please, please ask yourself if you want to be the man whose greatest remaining hope is that a merciful God has destroyed his life in order to save his soul.