The Josh Duggar Effect- Trapped by your “Testimony”
1 Timothy 3:7 (NKJV) Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
The word testimony in legal terms is the statement or declaration of a witness under oath or affirmation. In Christian circles it is intended to be an event or process by which there is evidence of Christ’s redemptive work in your life. Some Christians’ testimonies are viewed as “road to Damascus” experiences with dramatic reversals in the person’s behavior. While other’s testimonies are less dramatic or intense. As a Christian each testimony is different, unique and we all have one.
I don’t know Josh Duggar, have never viewed the TV show he was part of and don’t know his testimony regarding his salvation. I don’t know if his testimony is very dramatic or one that occurred over time. Very few of us will ever know what it is like to live under the lens of a TV camera and millions of people being exposed to your personal life. In other words, his testimony was very publicly displayed and scrutinized. Let me say this before we continue. I am in no way minimizing, justifying, or blame shifting Josh Duggar’s sexual sin. He is fully responsible for his actions. This article is not really focused upon Mr. Duggar’s behavior or even him as a person. This article focuses upon our use of the term testimony and how we can become identified and trapped by it.
When listening to Christian men who have relapsed into sexual sin, I have noticed many of them often felt trapped by their “testimony” of deliverance from past sexual sin. Before they ever relapsed into the behavior of sexual sin, they had struggled with mental temptations. They believed they could not share this struggle in fear that it would tarnish or take away the power of their “testimony”. In some of these cases, this past “testimony” had become their identity. The few that ventured into confiding with someone about their mental struggle often had their fears reinforced and encouraged to pray more and be silent about this struggle. You may have noticed in the past few sentences that I have testimony in quotes. I do this to emphasize a misuse of what our testimony should not be. Our testimony is never a statement about us but always about Jesus. It should never define us, control us or eliminate grace from our lives. When our past “testimony” controls our ability to be honest and makes our Christian walk a façade, then we are no longer walking by faith but by fear and the approval of others. When our past “testimony” defines us then we begin to walk in legalism. Cannot God’s Grace handle our struggles with temptation? Remember temptation is not a sin but is an opportunity to practice spiritual warfare and to grow in our dependency with God. Cannot His church and His followers deal with these as well? I just wonder. Did Josh Duggar feel controlled by his individual as well as his family’s testimony? When he began to be tempted to take a second look at an attractive person. Did he know the freedom to reach out for support or did he struggle alone? When he first searched the Internet for escort services. Did he remember that God’s Grace was sufficient and did he have a man of grace and truth that he could call upon?
I don’t know Josh Duggar but I do know many Christian men just like him. Some of them are reading this right now. If you are one of those men or women who feel trapped by their “testimony”, let me encourage you to seek help from safe people. The true testimony in our lives occurs everyday through God’s Grace and Mercy. You may have fallen back into old behavior but I assure you that you have not exceeded the reach and covering of God’s Love for you. As a church body let us become a refuge and place where we are not afraid to deal with the messy issue of sexual sin. Let our suffering brothers and sisters know we will walk through the restoration and healing process with them through Grace and Truth.
If you or someone you know is struggling with sexual sin, give us a call today. God is still in the restoration business.
Restoration Path Ex. Director