Support from the Seewalds. While the Duggar family is being heavily scrutinized for their actions after Josh Duggar allegedly molested five girls — some reportedly his sisters — back when he was a teen, one in-law, Michael Seewald, had words of encouragement for the embattled eldest Duggar son amidst the ongoing scandal.
"There is blood in the water and the sharks are in a feeding frenzy," Jessa Duggar's father-in-law wrote in a blog post titled "Grace Greater Than Our Sin" on Sunday, May 24. "Finally, the Duggar family’s opponents have found what they have been eagerly waiting for: shocking revelations of scandal by Jim Bob and Michelle’s firstborn son, Josh."
Ben Seewald's father explained why he chose to weigh in on the ongoing controversy while the rest of the family has remained silent following their statements on Facebook last Thursday, May 21. "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," he 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."
Michael's son Ben, 20, married Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's daughter Jessa, 22, in Bentonville, Ark. last November. The devout couple waited until marriage to share their first kiss, and things progressed rapidly from their big day. Just last month, the two announced that they were expecting their first baby due this fall.
Future granddad Michael, meanwhile, acknowledged the concerns that parents have, especially in this situation. (According to now-expunged investigation reports, Josh allegedly fondled the breasts and genitals of the victims back when he was 14 years old.) Michael also wrote that his in-laws Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar dealt with it the best way they could at the time.
"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," Michael wrote. "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."
"The victims of Josh’s actions should not be lost in all of this," he continued. "Sadly, this type of thing is all too common. Victims of sexual abuse of any kind often suffer greatly for many years as a result of these sins. We should not downplay the seriousness of these offenses particularly, nor gloss over the pain and confusion they often bring, sometimes for a lifetime." Michael urged any victims of sexual abuse to speak up and to deflect the shame they might feel.
"No matter what the abuser may have said, you are not the one to blame," Michael wrote. "Do not keep silent if you are being abused, tell someone you trust, a parent, a teacher, a friend, anyone is better than silence. You are likely not the only one who has been abused. Tell someone so that they will be stopped. If the person you tell doesn’t contact the right people to help, tell someone else. Stay away from the abuser if at all possible, or avoid being alone with them. If the abuser is in your family, you may feel conflicted. You may love this person and can’t understand why they are hurting you. No matter how much you love the abuser you must tell someone. Remember, it is never okay for someone to treat you that way even if they are a parent, a sibling, or a friend. There are many people who will help you if you just break the silence."
Michael then heavily focused on the Christian concept of redemption and hope for sinners. "There are many who seem shocked that a child from a Christian family would do such things. While it is always alarming when we find out about our children’s sins, we should not be surprised. Christians (and many other reasonable people) believe that we are all born with a sinful nature," he wrote. "We should not be shocked that this occurred in the Duggar’s home, we should rather be thankful to God if we have been spared such, and pray that he would keep us and our children from falling."
He also countered the many critics calling out the Duggars for their political and social viewpoints. "There are others that see this episode as a result of sheltering and repressing human desires. They think that had he access to sex education by Planned Parenthood, been allowed to watch edgy Hollywood films, been encouraged to experimentation with a girlfriend, or gotten free condoms from the local school nurse, then none of this would have happened. Right," Michael wrote. "The stupidity of some people is mind boggling. Fan the flames of youthful lust and you end up with what we have: unprecedented numbers of unwed mothers, millions of abortions, rampant STDs, and the unraveling of the fabric of our whole society. Josh didn’t sin because he was repressed, he sinned because like all of us he is a sinner."
Despite the backlash the 19 Kids and Counting stars are currently facing, Michael took a bold stand supporting his in-laws as the fallout continues.
"I want to say that the Seewald family stands with the Duggar family in solidarity. We stand with the unnamed victims of these incidents," he wrote. "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."
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