With the exposure of people like Josh Duggar, Doug Phillips, and Bill Gothard, came a wave of hurt and bitter young people, blasting the world of homeschooling and teachings of purity, modesty, and other values conservative Christians have held dear for ages.
Oh this is nothing new. There's always someone eager to put down the things they have been raised in. There are whole blogs devoted to exposing the hurt that homeschooling has caused, "freeing" young women from the chains of modesty, or providing a place for the bitter souls of rebels to commiserate.
But the words that I saw coming from these people gave me great cause for concern. Suddenly, Josh's upbringing was the reason he molested his sisters and cheated on his wife. Teachings of sexual purity, chaperoned dates, and not being allowed to kiss his wife till their wedding was the reason he went looking for love in all the wrong places.
People were quick to point at these stories of men's sinful choices and use them to validate their own hurt and bitterness against the world they came from.
"That's why I'm not homeschooling my kids!"
"That's why the purity movement and all teachings of sexual purity are evil!"
"That's why I don't teach my girls modesty!"
"That's why I don't go to church anymore!"
Basically, the sins of the few condemn the beliefs of the many. Basically, if someone falls off the bandwagon, the entire system is corrupt.
I shake my head in wonder at this concept, and the one ringing thought in mind and heart continues to be, "You're missing the point!"
Homeschooling isn't the problem.
Modesty isn't the problem.
Purity isn't the problem.
Having lots of kids isn't the problem.
The Bible isn't the problem.
These and many other things that often take the blame for the wrong doings of the few are not the problem. They are still the good things they always were, regardless of who uses them wrongly.
The problem is simply that sometimes, even good people make bad choices.
We have all been given a free will and sometimes, we abuse it. Thank God we are saved by grace, and all our sin has been washed away. But that does not excuse us from the truth that we can, and do sometimes, make the wrong decision, and sometimes, our decisions hurt other people.
We need to stop blaming the good, positive things and instead look at the root cause.
If I said that a certain person was a drug addict because they grew up in a public school, would I be even close to correct? Of course not. I would be grasping at straws, looking for something to blame for that person's addiction, other than his or her own personal bad choices.
So why are these situations any different?
Josh Duggar didn't cheat on his wife because he was taught a standard of sexual purity and homeschooled. He cheated on his wife because he let his sinful nature take hold of his life, and ultimately made one of the worse decisions a man can ever make.
Regardless of how we are brought up, we still have to make choices in life. Our parents can instill in us all the good in the world, but that doesn't change the fact that once we reach adulthood, we stand at a fork in the road, and have to make a personal decision as to which way we will follow. It is our responsibility. Our parents have done their job, as best as they know how. Now it is up to us.
Ultimately, we must remember that no belief system is perfect, and no teaching is without its flaws. We must take what we have learned, chew up the meat and spit out the bones, and decide what to apply in our own lives. We cannot blame a belief, a teaching, a group, or a method as a whole when we apply something wrongly and use it as an excuse to bad choices instead of a tool for good.
Instead of pointing fingers and trying to use another person's failings to validate our own personal hurt and bitterness, let us take these stories and learn from them. Let us strive to find the happy medium and take heed to examine our own hearts and motives. Let us pray for the strength and courage to make the right decision. Let us daily work to put away our bitterness, and never let it distract us from good things.
We are better than this.
Related Posts:Our Parents Suffered Too: Thoughts on Modesty, Purity, and the Culture That Shaped Us