‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.'”

Luke 15:29-32

The revelation of the teenage past Josh Duggar children is something that the media and left are delighting in.  Any potential republican candidate for a political office from dog catcher to the white house who ever took a shot with him will be made to pay the price by the media.

Only Mike Huckabee has stood up saying:

“Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable,’ ” Huckabee said in a statement posted on Facebook Friday. “He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story.”

A lot of people are surprised by, I’m not.  Gov Huckabee is Ordained Baptist Minister this is exactly the position he is not only expected to take, but required to take.

Even with the Reformation there are some doctrines that are common to all mainstream Christianity.  The most basic concern being the son of God, immaculately conceived, put to death, rising again, ascending to heaven.  But another key doctrine is the forgiveness of sins.

Now for this forgiveness to take place one must have contrition for said sins, this contrition can be imperfect due to the fear of damnation, rather than the love of God which is why the sacrament of confession is so important, but if that contrition exists then forgiveness is granted, not perhaps granted, not grudgingly granted, granted!  Even if the head of ISIS or Boko Haram, presented himself for Baptism, by baptism his sins, would be forgiven, ALL of them without exception.  Furthermore if he committed later sins and sincerely repented again his sins would be forgiven.

Moreover this forgiveness is not limited to a one-off sin.  Even if it is a sin that is repeatedly done, a sin that is struggled with (as most sins are) are forgivable.  Jesus was rather explicit on this:

Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

Matthew 18:21-22

Now the forgiveness of sin does not mean there is no punishment, A store owner might forgive the person who breaks his window and thus not have him arrested but would have him pay to have it fixed.  A company might forgive a crooked accountant & take his pleas for mercy, but they would not likely give him access to the company books.  A wife might forgive a cheating husband but that doesn’t mean he can cavort with other women till all hours of the night.  Christ’s forgiveness of sins removes the eternal punishment but it doesn’t mean one’s acts have no consequences.

Nor does this preclude the punishment of law.  Forgiveness of one’s eternal punishment before God does not exclude the temporal punishment before the law.  A bank robber who goes to confession would still be properly subject to the full penalties of the law for his crime but said crime does not exclude him from bank work when his time is served.

That doesn’t mean one isn’t prudent either consider the example of the Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. He  persecuted Christians right up until the moment he was converted.  Consider this exchange:

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”  The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and (in a vision) he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay (his) hands on him, that he may regain his sight.

Acts 9:10-12

Ananias answered in a way that I suspect most of us would:

But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.  And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.”

Acts 9:13-14

But God being God, knew best but take note of the text I emphasize

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”

We’ll come back to that bolded text in a bit.  After Ananias obeys the Lord and Paul gets his sight back he preaches fearlessly in the name of Christ but when he goes to Jerusalem and tries to join the disciples…

When he arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.  Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how on the way he had seen the Lord and that he had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.

Acts 9:26-27

And once he was accepted he was accepted, but he has in the text I emphasized at the top, suffered much for Christ’s name over and over he suffered, stonings, beatings, jailings (and a 1st century jail not a 21st century one) until at last when his mission was over he was beheaded in Rome.

And all of this brings us to Josh Duggar.

I don’t know his heart I don’t know if he regrets the actions of his teenage years, I do know that he has expressed contrition and asked forgiveness and while as a Catholic I would prefer sacramental confession which covers imperfect contrition as a Christian I am obliged to acknowledge his contrition and treat these sins as forgiven.  Furthermore it does not make invalid his adult critiques of culture, after all would anyone doubt the validity of the warnings of a person against drugs if said person’s life was ruined by them and whose family paid the price?

Now our friends on the left are largely post Christian and as non Christians they are not obliged to forgive Mr. Dugger at all.  Nor does Josh Duggar have a divine right to a TV show or any other high-profile job.  Any business from TLC to the Family Research Council who have an obligation to their shareholders and their work obliged to take him on and give him a living.    It is up to the individual business or person to decide if they wish to pay the costs or take the risks of the employment of Mr. Duggar the younger, if said businesses are Christians business and choose to apply Christian standards to make that decision that’s fine, if they are not and choose not to, that’s fine too.

But as Christian individuals the decision to forgive Josh Duggar is not a business decision, not a social decision, not a theoretical one.  It is a basic requirement of the faith and as such our failure to do so puts us under the penalty as prescribed in the prayer said by Christians all over the world

and forgive us our trespasses,as we forgive those who trespass against us

Those are the rules, and Jesus, directly after teaching his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, states the consequences of flouting these rules

If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

Matthew 6:14-15

There are 18 potential GOP candidates for President, at this time Gov Mike Huckabee does not break my top 5 choices but I’ll tell you this, when he claims Christianity he means it!

Exit question for our friends on the left:  If Josh Duggar sins make him unworthy to be on TV, how is it that Bill Clinton’s do not make him untouchable?  If Mike Huckabee willingness to forgive Josh Duggar makes him unacceptable as a presidential candidate how it is it that Hillary Clinton’s evasions and deceit, said to our faces, do not disqualify her in your eyes?

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