Friday, December 10, 2021

Contemplating Josh Duggar's Guilty Verdict

I cried for the better part of an hour today after someone phoned and told me about the guilty verdict in the Josh Duggar case. (He will be sentenced in four weeks.) Since that friend and I talked it through, it's been a slow, irregular leaking of tears ever since. I'm ready to put my head on my pillow to get much-needed rest.

Some of my tears were a release, knowing that for those who have suffered harm because of this religious system or even just abuse and loss that is similar to each of the players in the events concerning the Duggars, it is a vindication for them. We all need that, I think. Justice is healing for us all.

But it struck me that, to put it concisely when horrible things happen and when people do horrible things, the consequences are lousy and sad if not horrible all around. The collateral damage has been so high for so long. The ramifications of this range from sad for some to tragic for others. So I feel quite melancholy this evening but satisfied at the same time.

Some see the verdict as a victory to be celebrated, but it feels hollow to me. It was a very needful thing, but naught about it is good. Though we do not know, I suspect with a haunting, lingering feeling that a good bit of Josh's escalating acts for the last 20 years might have been staved off if his parents had not intervened, coddling him and preferring him over his sisters, over and over again.

I guess I'm coping by explaining to people that when the religion teaches that even babies merit and solicit their maltreatment, if that abuse takes place (physical and sexual), is it any wonder that this kid grew up to become a sociopath? (I'm assuming that's the case given the repeated allegations and this new conviction of sex and violence.) From what we know of the grand events in his life, Josh Duggar's parents bought him out of and used friends in high places to rescue him from every negative, deserved consequence of "his bad choices" (the phrase his family used during damage control in 2015). In my opinion, he actually needed to shoulder them all for his own growth and betterment. He was set up in easy jobs which his father provided for him even after he fell from public grace. The religion that minimized and justified his behavior gave him little cause to work to be a better person -- at least from what I can see from my vantage.

While his crime merits punishment which he cannot escape this time around, I wept because it doesn't solve much of anything. There is so much collateral damage, even for the traumatized jury that had to view deplorable evidence to arrive at their verdict rightly. So many ripples in the water reaching so many, and so many escalating events.

His parents learned nothing, and as we see so many times, "the fate that has befallen" their son will be counted as righteous persecution because they are higher and better creatures than the rest of us. A daughter and her husband freed themselves from as much of the family manipulation and control as they could, though that process continues to be painful for them. Court is never easy, no matter what side of a matter you are on, and this has been so difficult for them all for reasons that will probably never occur to us beyond the ones that we have witnessed.

So I resolve to be humble about my own mistakes. May I be more mindful that, when they pop up, my behaviors of neglect hurt my loved ones. May I remember always that God shows me mercy and has forgiven me much, and I should remember that, lest I think that I stand because of my own effort and merit. I pray that my tears and the groaning of my heart would be unspoken prayer for those who suffer because of so many "bad choices" and far-reaching consequences. May the pain that others now feel have their perfect work to motivate positive change and liberty. May the bruised find liberty. May mercy find triumph in contrition in the healing that justice brings. I received mercy. Let my heart be like my Savior's who so prefers mercy over sacrifice, and may that mercy find a home in the contrite hearts of many. May many fall on the Rock and be broken lest the Rock fall on them after hope has abandoned them. May we all rise to the best of what our humanity can be instead of falling out with the lowest common denominator.

From the blog of Jill (Duggar) Dillard and her husband, Derick