'The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child.'
Deuteronomy 5:9-10, Ezekiel 18:20
'the reality of life is that children learn a lot from their parents'
“For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Deuteronomy 5:9-10).
“The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
The above two passages appear to conflict with one another. They don’t really. God is a just God and doesn’t punish people for the sins of others. However, the reality of life is that children learn a lot from their parents. Sons of domestic violence perpetrators, particularly, often become perpetrators themselves. Even though they hated the abuse meted out on themselves and their mothers. These continuing cycles of abuse, substance abuse and crime are evident just a few meters from our church facilities. Which is why our Kids’ Club is a vital ministry.
My wife’s family is a wonderful example of what God can do to break cycles. Without going into details, Julie’s dad followed the pattern taught to him by his Dad. He wasn’t abusive and was a lovely guy but followed self-destructive cycles. Julie’s parents were of the era where the children were sent to Sunday School even though they weren’t believers. Julie was the first in her family to become a Christian at the age of ten. The other children followed. Then mum in her forties and finally dad not too long before he passed away. The effects of past cycles were largely broken. There are still some lingering bits but the family today is a different family to past generations. Plus, the gospel is spreading to the wider family as well. God is indeed good.