August 25, 2015 Leave a comment
Disgust. It is admittedly one of the feelings I had when I heard about the recent Ashley Madison – Joshua Duggar connection. The fact that a web-based adultery broker even exists is disgusting to me. The fact that a high-profile person associated with evangelical Christianity was outed as a client of a web-based adultery broker is more disgusting. The damage done to Mrs. Duggar and the Duggar children and Mr. Duggar himself is disgusting. The slander which will no doubt fall upon Christ and his church due to this situation is disgusting. If you are a follower of Christ you may be disgusted as well. There is plenty of disgust to go around here.
Can our disgust be leveraged in a positive way? I believe so. Here are a few ways we can avoid wasting our disgust.
- Disgust at the sins of others reminds us of our own sin and our vulnerability to sin in general. To borrow a phrase from the Apostle Paul, “let him who stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12).” Considering Mr. Duggar’s sin reminds me that I am capable of lust and adultery. To say in one’s heart “I would never…” is to strip oneself of the armor of humility and dependence on Christ necessary to fight sin.
- Disgust at the sins of others moves us to greater watchfulness in the pursuit of personal holiness. When we hear about a person who perished in a car accident because they failed to wear their safety belt, we are more likely to buckle up next time we get behind the wheel. In a similar way, hearing about Joshua Duggar’s sin may move us to be more vigilant in establishing boundaries for our eyes and hearts. We may be more apt to pray for God’s help in our marriages. We may be driven deeper into God’s Word.
- Disgust at the sins of others warns us of the ugliness of sin and the damage it can do to our lives and others. Are we not warned in our souls when we think of the waves of destruction Joshua Duggar’s choices have unleashed in his life, his family, his church, and even the evangelical community at large? Wouldn’t we want to avoid this kind of damage at any cost?
- Disgust at the sins of others drives us to Christ who alone forgives sin and equips us to fight against it. It can be a short step from disgust to self-righteousness. We must never allow our disgust to push us toward a pharisaical posture of self-congratulation. Rather, our disgust must drive us to say “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” Our standing with God is not that we have performed better than Joshua Duggar. It can only rest on the perfect righteousness of Jesus credited to us when we believe in him.
Don’t waste your disgust. Leverage it in a Christ-exalting way as fuel for your own spiritual benefit.