Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

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Courtesy of The Kelly File

Courtesy of The Kelly File

Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard, two of the victim sisters of Josh Duggar, broke their silence on The Kelly File Friday night. I watched, intently, to see how they spoke about their abuse, and how they reacted to personal questions regarding said abuse. And, do you know what I saw?

Grace.

Forgiveness.

Mercy.

I saw tears, too, but not where I expected them.

I expected the girls to break down when they were asked about what their brother did. I expected them to react like I did — like so many of us do when we recount our abuse — with tears, anger, and yes, some bitterness that Josh Duggar stole something precious from them — their innocence.

But, they didn’t.

Their body language was relaxed. They looked at ease through most of the interview. They smiled, laughed, and comfortably spoke about what took place in their home. It wasn’t until the subject of the media was brought up that, at least, Jill’s body language changed. She stiffened up and began to cry as she gave her personal feelings about the release of their sealed report. Jill recalled calling her husband on that day, over two weeks ago, when In Touch Magazine posted the police report for all the world to see.

“We’re victims,” Jill Duggar Dillard exclaimed. “How can they do that to us?”

Jill continued to fight back her emotions as she explained how they felt they were being re-victimized “a thousand times worse” than the original offense. She, and sister Jessa, both said multiple times, “We had already dealt with it, we moved on. Josh confessed to us, we forgave him; we moved on.”

So, why can’t America let it go?

Is it because we are disgusted with this kind of “sin”? As well we should be. As one who has endured years of childhood sexual abuse, I can say first hand that molestation is disgusting. It is vile. It is reprehensible. Repulsive. Repugnant. Vicious. Nasty. Shocking. Appalling. And, yes, contemptible. A lot of the posts I have seen over the past few weeks express those very words. Some would like nothing better than to take Josh Duggar out behind the woodshed and execute him. We have no problem understanding, or accepting, the words that express our disgust of Josh’s actions. We applaud those words. We exhort those words. But, there is another word we’ve heard that makes us just as mad as Josh Duggars actions against his sisters and baby sitter. A word that infuriates us and enrages us, and causes us to strike out in shock and disbelief that such a word could even be muttered over such a reprobate .

Forgiven.

WHAT? Forgiven? How could anyone forgive what he has done? He’s a pig. A worm. He doesn’t deserve to live. I’ve seen the words written all over the internet, newspaper sites, blog posts, Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds… they’ve all basically said the same thing. “Josh Duggar is a vile human being, and therefore must be punished in a manner that is acceptable to us.”

But, we don’t get to make that call, do we?

Josh didn’t molest us, he molested his sisters and baby sitter, and they are the only ones who get to determine whether or not he is forgiven. Period. And they chose to forgive him.

Deal with it, America.

I was very impressed by Jill and Jessa. They have given us a peek into something holy. A humble, beautiful example of Agape Love. True love that covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). Along with a heart of love, they have given us a clear example of what true forgiveness looks like. A perfect example of how our LORD, Jesus Christ, treats every one of us who repent and turn from our sin to follow him.

The Duggar girls aren’t angry. The don’t exhibit signs of bitterness. They aren’t bashing their brother. Instead, their words toward him are seasoned with grace and mercy. They have said they have dealt with it, they have forgiven him, and they have moved on.

I believe them.

Is it possible, the reason we are so outraged is because we just expect the Duggar girls to feel the same way we do over our own abuses (or how we feel over a family member/friend who was abused)? And, because they don’t we think there must be something wrong with them?

I mean, who does that?

Victims forgive.

Why?

Because forgiveness doesn’t release the offender from the responsibility of his or her actions, rather, it releases the victim from the prison of emotional upheaval and life altering issues caused by the offenders actions.

The Duggar girls understand this.

They don’t need our help. No matter how much we think our two cents (even this blog post) is spot on, they don’t need our help. They’ve got it covered. And, they don’t need the internet counseling sessions. Their family dealt with Josh’s abuse. DCFS cleared the parents, and even complimented them on how they handled the situation. And, certainly, the girls don’t need our criticism for their right to forgive their brother.

These girls have suffered twice now.

It’s time to allow them the dignity to live their own lives with their own convictions.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will take me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Glory belongs to him forever and ever! Amen. II Timothy 4:18 ISV

I’m drowning.
Turbulent waters cover my head. I fight against the current but I’m not strong enough to push through the water. Dark, murky water swirls around me. All of my senses tell me its no use to fight. These chains drag me down, entangled around my limbs, but I can’t give up.

Insecurity chokes me.
What if my strength completely fails? What if I continue to fight when I should just give up? What if this is what I deserve? Is God disgusted with me, like I am with myself? Everywhere I turn I seem to fall into some trap. I can’t find my way out. It’s too dark. There is no light to follow.

God, help me!

It is the prayer I have cried out many times before.

Help me overcome.
Help me escape.
Help me to be stronger.
Help me to be wiser.
Help me to not fall again.
Help me to not be a disappointment to you.

I am here.

What?

I am here with you.

Why are you here? In this place? With me?

I have come to lead you out.

Me? But, look what I’ve done!

I know. I’m here to lead you out.

I do not deserve it, LORD! I am too sinful. Too dirty. I deserve to stay in this place… in my shame. Look what I allowed myself to do! Don’t you see it?

Yes. I have seen your struggles long before they took place. You have been hurt in many ways, and through that hurt you have searched for healing and acceptance in the wrong places. You sought comfort in the arms of another human being, when it is My nail scarred hands that hold the ointment to heal.

Do you know what has been done? They told me I didn’t deserve better.

It is a lie, My child. The enemy wants to confuse you. To complicate My Word. He has been doing so for many generations. Using circumstance of this earthly life to convince you that I am angry with you, or that I do not care. But, I am giving you eyes to see those things are not so. That is why I am here with you right now. I have come to show you the Way — the one true way to the Father. I am here to show you the Truth — the reality standing right before your eyes. I am here to show you that I am the Life your heart yearns for; the true life in the spirit not the life of this world. This world leaves you in need, but My Life satisfies that need. In seeing those things you will be rescued from the plot of the evil one.

After everything I’ve said and done, you are still willing to help me?

Oh, my dear one! What you have said, and what you have done are small matters compared to eternity. My Blood — the Blood I poured out through the cross — the very first time you came to Me, as a trusting child to give Me your heart, I covered your sin. All of it. From the moment you were born until the day you leave this earth, your sin has already been covered. I am here to help you, not because you are perfect, but because I love you. Because you have given your heart to me.

I crumple to my knees.
Tears stream down my face.
How could such forgiveness and love find me? Me, of all people? Here in this place?

I let His love wash over me.
The load has fallen from my shoulders.
I can breathe again.
I stand and turn, and walk away.
As I leave I hear the distinct sound of chains falling. Crumpling to the ground. I hear the sound of prison doors opening.

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He walked in and said I was indebted to him.

“I don’t owe you anything!” I said angrily. And, I didn’t. I had never seen him before. I had never gone into his house of debt to borrow anything. He had it all wrong. This man, whoever he was, was trying to scam me, and I wasn’t going to have anything to do with it. I am too smart to fall for that!

“The debt is yours,” the stranger said.

“No, it is not mine,” I repeated. “I have not borrowed anything from you. What I have, I have obtained on my own. I have purchased it with the funds left me by my deceased relatives. They were wealthy, and I was their only heir. I have never had to go into a lending institution in all the days I have been alive. I have always been well provided for. Even now, I do very well on my own. I have enough money to leave my own children, and their children after that. I have several real estate holdings worth millions of dollars. I have no need.”

“The debt I hold,” the stranger replied, “is transferrable debt. It transferred to your relatives, and now, it has transferred to you.”

“You are sorely mistaken, sir.” I said. “How in the world can you come into my house and demand payment from me for a debt I never incurred? You are making me angry. I have explained to you, as nicely as I can, that I don’t owe you a %#$%!^$ thing. I took what my relatives left me and built it into what it is today. I made it without borrowing anything from anyone. Me. Alone. I did it without your help, or anyone else’s. Get that through your thick skull. I don’t owe you anything, now please leave me alone. Get out of my house.”

“I have not come to make you angry.” The stranger spoke in a gentle voice.

“Do you know who you are dealing with?” I asked. “I am not some ignorant fool stupid enough to fall for this pitiful scheme of yours. I can take one look at you and know you aren’t a lender. Your clothes give you away. You wandered into town thinking you were going to get a free ride. I have very powerful friends. All I have to do is make one phone call and you will spend the night in jail.”

“You only have the power over me that my father gives you.” Still, the stranger spoke with gentleness.

“Who do you think you are?” I just about screamed at him. I was getting furious. This man… this BUM walks into my house with a piece of paper in his hands, and tells me I owe him? He is crazy! I am wealthy enough that I don’t have to worry… ever. I will always be comfortable. I can go wherever I want, whenever I want, and stay as long as I like. I have never relied on anyone for help… ever. I have always had enough… Always had more than enough. I didn’t need his money.

“Sir,” I began, “I will give you exactly two minutes to leave my house. After that, I will make one phone call. With that call there will be several police in my driveway just to pick you up. Do you understand?”

“You do not have to call anyone,” the stranger replied. “I will go, as you wish.”

“You are a crazy man.” I spit out, still angry at the stranger.

“All of your descendants have uttered similar things to the collector of debt.” He said.

I looked at him. He didn’t look that old to me, so how could he even know what ‘ALL’ of my descendants did? I was right, he is crazy.

 “Okay. Your two minutes are up. You need to leave.” My voice was firm.

“I will go,” he said, “but, just as it has been done with your descendants, I will do with you. I will leave you a copy of the debt I hold against you. It is up to you to take the time to read it, and accept it. But, you must be aware; this debt will be transferred to whoever assumes your estate when your life is over. It does not go away just because you deny it exists.”

And, just like that he walked out of my door.  I picked up the paper he left and crumpled it without looking at it. “Who does he think he is?” I shouted at the empty room as I threw the wadded paper into the fireplace. I’m still not sure what made me retrieve it so fast, but I did. I stomped out the flames and opened it.

As I read through the now charred pages tears began to fill my eyes. On this page was listed the original loan acquired to purchase my great-great-great-grandfather’s business… everything I had, even the things I had acquired myself, were tied to the original loan that had never been satisfied, and with the compounding interest that accrued throughout the years, the figure was astounding. As I continued to read, I discovered the signatures of my relatives, throughout the generations, affirming the validity of the debt. All of my grandfather’s signatures were there; even my father’s signature.

Why didn’t I know this? Why hadn’t dad told me before he left the estate to me? Was there a copy of this debt in the files? Was it scanned into the computer? Why did it take a stranger to bring it to my attention? I felt angry again. Betrayed. Trapped. For the first time in my life I felt like I was drowning and there was no way out. If I paid the debt I would, literally, have nothing left. It would take everything I worked hard to keep. Everything! The house, the cars, and the real estate holdings… every single thing I held dear. Everything that made me who I am would have to be sold in order to satisfy the debt. How could any

What was I going to do?

I put on my glasses to read the fine print. What else they can take?

The debtor, Thaddeus A. Peccator*, agrees, by affixing his signature, to assume all liability for the loan dated July 15, 1825, through Agnus Dei*. This debt shall include all heirs, administrators, and assigns forever.

Then a phrase caught my eye, Cancellation of debt.

I looked up from the page and ran to the door. Could I still catch him? Was he already gone? I had been so ugly with him.

The stranger was sitting on my porch; waiting.

“You didn’t leave!” I was thrilled. “I am so terribly sorry for the way I treated you earlier. Please, come back in! I was wrong. I do accept the debt. It is mine to owe.”

“It matters not how you come to accept the debt, my son. What matters is you have accepted it.” He was still so nice. So calm. Even after I was so rude to him. Who was this man? Why did my father never introduce us?

“You have accepted the debt, Mr. Peccator*, and, according to the terms of the agreement, by your signature, you assume liability. I will witness your signature.”

I grabbed the pen from my pocket and signed my name, and for good measure, I dated the document. I handed it back to him, beaming, “Your turn.” I said

There in his eyes, for the very first time, I saw intense love. His face was etched with deep sorrow & pain, why did I not see that before? I looked down as he took the pen from my hand. His hand is scarred. I shrank back. Who is this man and what happened to him? He sat down to sign the document. He seemed to be in agony as he signed his name, Agnus Dei*.

The story I have told is an age old story. The human race owes a debt to the Creator of the universe. It was a debt of exorbitant value; a debt we had no way of paying for ourselves. So God, even though he was the one demanding payment from us, knew we couldn’t come up with it… because of sin; we couldn’t satisfy the debt (the Law of God – 10 Commandments) of handwriting against us… so he devised a plan. Oh, we could try to be good enough, but inside, we know we never are that good. We, too, get angry, and self-righteous, showing God all the reasons why we think he is a scam; a delusion; that we are way too smart to be tricked into giving up our time for him. But still, inside, we can’t get away from the knowledge that something is wrong and we can’t fix it on our own.

God knew this and he made the way possible for us to cancel the debt he held against us. He became the solution. GOD BECAME THE EXACT PAYMENT HE DEMANDED FROM US! That is the GOOD NEWS of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God demanded payment of a debt we could not afford, so he became the very payment we needed! Just like in the story we must accept responsibility for our own debt, and then accept Jesus’s assumption of that debt on our behalf.

May you #BeBlessed and #WalkInTruthToday

Cheryl

*The names I chose are Latin.  Peccator is a male sinner. Agnus Dei is Lamb of God.