The big news trending on social media is once again centered on the Duggar family. The oldest son, Josh, married to Anna and father of four precious children, has admitted that he had not one, but two Ashley Madison accounts. Josh Duggar admitted to adultery. On a national platform.
In the New Living Translation, Proverbs 4:23 says,
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
That is what happened with Josh Duggar; he didn’t guard his heart. He put his desire for physical pleasure ahead of his desire for things of God. Many, many people are going to deal with the consequences of his choices, for a very long time. And the family that we all thought was “special,” the family that was “different” in a way we found entertaining if not inspiring, isn’t so different after all.
Josh and his family looked good on the outside…
Men like Doug Phillips of Vision Forum, Billy Graham’s grandson Tullian Tchividjian, Ted Haggard, and Mark Driscoll (to name a few) have also looked very impressive on the outside. But their hearts…not so much…
We often equate physical appearance as reflective of inner beauty; it isn’t. And we often associate financial success with God’s blessing or evidence of spiritual maturity; we shouldn’t.
As Christians…as “Christ-followers” we are supposed to be different. But we’re not supposed to be different because of how we look on the outside! We’re supposed to look different on the outside because Jesus makes us different on the inside.
Josh’s heart has been revealed. He no longer appears successful by any standard. Neither does Mark Driscoll, but for different reasons.
Before you rush to judgement, however, let me ask you a question; if our sins were exposed like Josh’s have been how would that change our appearance of success? And if we’re going to treat others the way we want to be treated, how will we respond to Josh Duggar, or anyone else who fails?
Ultimately, the question we need to answer is not what to do when leaders fall…it is how we’ll choose leaders; are we going to continue being sucked in by dynamic people who look cool and speak well, like the Israelites with King Saul? Are we going to look at the outward appearance and assume it is reflective of the inside? Or will we value what God values (1 Samuel 16:7, 8) and care more about character than physical appearance and financial success? Because I think, when we begin to value what is really important, the heart, we’ll see that it affects everything else.