The Duggar scandal continues to be mined by the media. In all the articles, blog posts, and back and forth on this issue, I thought I would weigh in from an angle less explored. The scandal illustrates an unfortunate cultural reality: some people take delight when Christians fall.

Long ago, Christopher Blackwood (1606-1670), an early English Baptist, spoke to this issue in his own day. His pungent words are hard hitting:

The great triumphs and outcries wicked men make when any of God’s children fall into scandalous sin (I say, when any of God’s children, for properly a scandal cannot be given but by God’s children, or by them that profess the truth) when such are overtaken, though the wicked themselves be a thousand times worse, they are apt to triumph, Psalm 38.16 “When my foot slips (though I did not actually fall) they magnify themselves against me.” As things that fall from on high make a great sound, so the falls of persons that are high in profession are heard afar off. Wicked men hunger and thirst after the falls of godly men, and if at any time they fall into evil, like hungry dogs they muzzle in their excrements, like horse flies that passing by many precious flowers fasten upon dung. The wicked pass by the graces of Saints, and fasten upon their infirmities.[1]

Psalm 38:16 –

“For I said, ‘May they not rejoice over me, who, when my foot slips, would magnify themselves against me.’”

Some people revel in the fall of others because it gives them an excuse to rationalize their own sin and continue to reject the gospel. . . while, tragically, all the while failing to realize their own accountability to the God who made them and the Savior who died for their sins on the cross.

Enough said.

[1] Christopher Blackwood, Exposition Upon the Ten First Chapters of the Gospel of Jesus Christ According to Matthew (London: Printed by Henry Hills, for Francis Tyton, and John Field, and are to be sold at the Three Daggers, and at the Seven Stars in Fleetstreet, 1659), 201. (Some language and punctuation updated.) For more on Blackwood, see the recent article by Malcolm Yarnell in the latest edition of Southwestern Journal of Theology: “Christopher Blackwood: Exemplar of Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptists,” SWJT 57.2 (Spring 2015): 181–206.