Saturday, August 22, 2015

On Glass Houses, Betrayal and Ashley Madison

This week I have heard and seen countless rants about how the cheaters are going to “get what they deserve” after the Ashley Madison data leak.  I find this kind of rhetoric unnecessary.  Who is really going to suffer from the narcissism that is cheating? The liar and cheater?  The ones who will be most impacted are the families.  Why gloat?

I was never really into the Duggar’s TV show. 

Maybe it’s because the thought of tater tot casserole makes me queasy or because I stopped watching most reality shows after Season 2 of Survivor. But mostly, it was because I didn’t identify with the large, homeschooling, “good” family. (They just made the unruly, eye-rolling, sarcastic people in my house look even more unrighteous.) While I’m sure there was some common ground, I could only see the things we didn’t have in common.  However, this week I have felt a certain amount of intrigue with the family’s struggles. 

When I read Josh Duggar’s statement this week, admitting he not only struggled with a pornography addiction, but was also unfaithful to his young wife and children–I didn’t rejoice. I felt sick to my stomach. Knowing what his family is enduring is heartbreaking. And I don’t have to be a “fan” to recognize it.

No, I didn’t gloat and point a sanctimonious finger. My first urge was to shout, “Man down!”

It’s what I screamed last week when I found out through the town rumour mill that a trusted friend was sharing my own life’s struggles. A person that I had deeply trusted decided to point that sanctimonious finger directly at me, judge my choices and short-comings and then to top it off share her thoughts about my life with complete strangers.  I was gutted. 

It’s hard to know if Josh’s Duggar contrition this week came because he got caught or because he was truly repentant or because he has nothing left to lose. We might never know. While I think it matters privately to his wife and family, it’s really none of our business. Just as my choices in life are none of this town’s business.  This is ground zero for a family and hopefully redemption and help will follow.

Should the TV show be off the air? Absolutely. (Maybe the real question is should it have ever been on TV?) Should this family be taken off a pedestal? Definitely. (All families are messy, even the “good” ones). Should we pick up a rock and join the mob? Only if we’re perfect. Should we worry about our own hypocrisy? Probably. Should we take a moment to clean the windows in our own glass houses? You bet!  Should we avoid tater tot casserole at all costs? You know it.

The world may never understand that many families are a mess of sinful humanity trying to sort this life out, but they will see that we eat our own and wound our wounded.  This “kick her, when she’s down” approach, was my heart-breaking revelation this week and has been the cause of a painful end to a meaningful friendship.

It’s easy to use “love” as an action word for our lost world–those we don’t agree with in alternative lifestyles, but it’s harder to show it to people who are more like us than we care to admit.

How then shall should we respond to the falling of Josh Duggar or anyone else? Our heart should cry, “Man down! Family shattered! I’m going to live the best life I can live (in my glass house, with dirty windows)”

Because someone probably shouted it for us.

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