Duggar In-Law Defends Family's Actions

Photo: Rex USA.
The world at large has been reacting to Josh Duggar's admission that he molested five underage girls at the age of 14. Now, people within the TLC reality star's extended family are making their opinions known.

Michael Seewald, father-in-law to Josh's younger sister Jessa, has written a blog post, "Grace Greater Than Our Sin," in defense of the disgraced TV personality. 

"I would rather not discuss something of this nature on my blog, especially since it is dredging up past sins that have been painfully grieved over once already by all involved," Seewald wrote. "It pains me to see that they are now having to relive the nightmare that had been laid to rest well over a decade ago with Josh’s repentance and reformation, but I feel compelled to bring some context and reason to the bloodletting that many are engaging in and to come to the aid of our dear friends and family.  

"I am not going to talk much about the criminal aspect of Josh’s actions or if the authorities acted appropriately with the knowledge of what happened," he added. "That ball rests in their court. As it stands criminal charges were not brought against Josh but I believe that Josh’s parents acted in a way that godly parents should. They did not turn a blind eye, but earnestly sought help from the church, counselors, and eventually the police. Maybe they didn’t do it in a way that pleases everyone, but they acted decisively to confront the sin, to call a penitent son back from his errors, and to seek to aid the hurting victims. In the end Josh sought forgiveness from those he wronged, repented of his sins, and came to trust Christ as his Savior. He has to the present day attested to the reality of his repentance and faith by living above reproach. In their efforts to salvage the wreckage that these transgressions brought, and bring healing to all involved, Jim Bob and Michelle are to be commended."

Seewald, whose son Ben is married to Jessa Duggar Seewald, continued that the he didn't want to "downplay the seriousness" of the sexual abuse. His argument is that the Duggars did not owe it to the public at large to reveal their terrible secret.

"Some people act as if it was the Duggar’s responsibility to have made this sad episode in their family public knowledge,"he wrote. "They are to be praised for not hiding this from the appropriate parties and eventually the police, but they owed it to no one else to publicize the sins of a minor child and the court agrees with that assessment, the judge now ordering that the police report be destroyed. But the cat is already out of the bag. How many of you would broadcast the sins of your children to the whole world? Would you be willing to publicize your own darkest moments? It is miserable indeed that someone was willing to illegally obtain a police investigation involving minor children and publish it for whatever nefarious purpose they had in mind. "

Seewald also denied that Duggars' conservative background contributed to Josh's behavior, arguing that he, like everyone else, is a sinner. He also included a call for victims of abuse to speak up and seek help. Ultimately, however, he is standing by the Duggars.

"I want to say that the Seewald family stands with the Duggar family in solidarity," he said. "We stand with the unnamed victims of these incidents. Our thoughts and prayers are for you. I want to say to Josh, hang in there, the shame you feel is legitimate, yet Jesus took your shame as he was punished in your place. Rest in his forgiveness and grace. Remember that he gives you his righteousness as a covering for your shame. Let this trial in your life build humility and grace. Don’t be angry at the world for their hatred of you. Show them through your love for them that it is Jesus Christ that made all the difference in your life. I’m rooting for you."

As you can imagine, many of the comments below the post are rather alarming. A select few:

"I’m also not sure whether a minor molesting another minor is a pedophile. I think of pedophiles as ADULTS who molest minors, though I have not looked up the definition so it is possible that I am wrong."

"A homosexual is a sinner if they are leading a homosexual lifestyle and when they flaunt their lifestyle for everyone to see. They want those of us that believe homosexuality is a sin, to accept their sinful lifestyle and not see it as a sin. If a person in a homosexual lifestyle would take the steps Josh took then their sins would be washed away through the blood of Jesus. Would they still be tempted by that lifestyle? Yes. Could they fall back in to that lifestyle? Yes. Would that mean they were lost? No, it means they are human and make mistakes like all the rest of us sinners saved through the blood. The key is to admit you made a mistake and start anew. God loves each and everyone of us but He won’t accept our sinful ways. He wants us restored to Him and to be given His promise of eternal life."

"I’m so glad to see people standing with this precious family. What an example of true grace they have and are showing."

Whatever their differences, most commenters agree on one point: It's unfortunate that Duggar's victims are having to relive their abuse. (Us Weekly)

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