Skip to site content

You’re Not Josh Duggar, But ‘Small’ Sins Do Damage, Too

I am not Josh Duggar, and I think it is important that my kids know that.

A blog titled “I Am Josh Duggar” surfaced recently and made its rounds on social media.

The author, Julia Walton, shares that before we judge Josh Duggar so harshly, we would be wise to consider that “we are all sinners. We forget that we all fall short of the glory of God. We all need a savior, that’s why Jesus came.”

I absolutely agree.

Walton also challenges the church “to be more open about those ‘super bad sins’ that we struggle with.”

And she encourages us to confess our sins that we keep hidden in the deepest, darkest places and to stop acting like we are perfect.

I’m not necessarily opposed to that, but the reality is that many believers do not struggle with “super bad sins.”

Most of us are not cheating on our spouses, lying to the world, acting as the self-described biggest hypocrites and addicted to sexual sin.

We aren’t hiding big dark sins from anyone, and many of us who do struggle are in loving discipleship relationships with other trusted members of the body of Christ who are holding them accountable for what they do.

How do I know this? Because I see it all around me every day. I’ve worked in churches. I’m around ministers all the time. I hear about the struggles.

And while I would never say these hidden sins don’t exist, because they do, for many those sins aren’t the issue.

Instead, it’s the sins we “don’t count” that get overlooked and underplayed.

It’s the ones that don’t make headlines or cause shock and dismay: gossip, anger, gluttony, selfishness, pride and deceitfulness, to name a few.

It’s the choice to put work over family, sports above God, self before others; the things that happen and we just shrug our shoulders and move on because, “Really, it’s no big deal.”

And I can’t help but wonder: What message are we sending to our kids? That only the “big sins” count? Only the ones that are so bad you keep them hidden? Only the ones that cause the most revulsion and criticism in society?

I think it is important for my kids to know that I am not Josh Duggar. I have not engaged in those “super bad sins.” I have not done the things that he has done.

Yet, I still need a Savior, grace, discipleship and commitment. I still need believers that I can confess to when I yell at my kids, have a fight with my husband, act selfishly or eat recklessly.

Not because these things are hidden sins, but because they are sins that separate me from God and hinder my relationship with my Savior.

It is OK to be a broken sinner; it is not OK to hide our sin and lead a double life. At the end of the day, sin is not about being wrong; it’s about breaking relationships with God and others.

My kids need to know that the “little sins” count. Because they are just as effective at leading us away from Christ and the church and one another as the “big sins” are, but they are a lot more sneaky.

I think the church needs to be more open about sin, but I don’t think it needs to be the super-bad sins; in fact, I think we major on those a bit too much.

We need to be honest and vulnerable about the not-so-bad sins that sneak in and wander freely, sometimes with our approval.

Whatever we do, we must remember, little eyes are watching us and learning from us.

If our reactions of sorrow and sadness only manifest toward these larger sin areas, then yes, they will keep those hidden from us because those are “really bad.”

But if we walk in humility with all sin, acknowledging to them that we shouldn’t have yelled like that, exaggerated like that, reacted like that and acted like that, then hopefully they will learn that all sin needs our confession and God’s grace.

Christina Embree is director of children and family ministries at Nicholasville United Methodist Church near Lexington, Kentucky. A version of this article first appeared on her website, Refocus Ministry, and is used with permission. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbreeChristina.