God gives you freedom to make your own choices in life, but the choice is not made in a vacuum. There are repercussions that will occur. For generations.
It only takes one apple.
Ethylene gas is a hormone that is produced by apples and serves as a ripening agent. When the gas is emitted it signals the fruit to begin the ripening process and it continues until the fruit is not only ripe but overripe and rotten. But when the apple produces ethylene gas, not only does it affect the ripening of the one fruit, it prods the fruit around it to follow in its path. The more it ripens - the more gas it produces and the more gas it produces - the more it encourages the rotting of the other fruit within its sphere of influence.
One bad apple will spoil the bunch.
It prods the fruit around it to follow. It influences. It unknowingly affects and ruins the future of the other fruit around it.
For me - there is a personal side to this law of nature. One that is closer to home. Much of my adult life was terribly influenced by the sins of another person. His choice of sin over obedience was out of my control. The choices that were made were not my own and I, being an innocent bystander, was influenced just because I was connected. I did not partake in the sin....I did not chose that sin for myself...in fact, I prayed for, stood in faith, and warned against the bad choices that led to the disobedient life he led, but still....I was the one who suffered.
Because of the sins of another person.
And that is not fair.
The Price of Sin
Look at Exodus 20: 5-6.
Context: God was giving Moses the Ten Commandments on the mountain and He was telling Moses just how jealous He was. God warned the Israelites not to make any idols for worship and that they were to worship Him alone.
Exodus 20: 5-6 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Punishing the children for the sins of their parents?
"My father was a cruel man who beat us."
"My mother had an affair."
"My grandfather was a drunk."
"My grandmother was selfish and neglected her kids."
"My dad? He didn't believe that there was a God."
Even though God's word states that the repercussions of sin by the parent have the potential to continue for generations He will forgive wickedness, rebellion and sin to ALL who ask for forgiveness. It is the ones who made the choice and are repentant who will be freed and forgiven, but..... the ones who choose to continue in the sin of their parents -- that is the sin that will not go unpunished.
Ezekiel 18: 20 tells us that you do not carry the sins of your fathers
Ezekiel 18:20 20 Only the one who sins will die. A child won’t bear a parent’s guilt, and a parent won’t bear a child’s guilt. Those who do right will be declared innocent, and the wicked will be declared guilty.
....unless you chose to continue in the same way of life and chose to continue in the same sin pattern. That is Generational wickedness.
I Kings 15:26: He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of his father and committing the same sin his father had caused Israel to commit.
But...sometimes when you make the choice of a disobedient lifestyle you are influencing those within your sphere of influence - you influence them into making the same sin choices that you did. Your sphere learns from you.
Just like the rotten apple...your influence prods those around you to continue in a sin pattern. The repercussions of sin has the potential of affecting lives to the third, the fourth, the fifth.... generation.
The Domino Effect
There are two ways to look at the domino effects of sin....
From the view of the one making the choice
From the view of the innocent ones being affected by the choice
Let's look at both:
God is a forgiving God. Look at Micah 7:19:
Micah 7:19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Micah tells us that when you come to God in repentance, He will grant you forgiveness and will hurl all of your iniquities into the depths of the sea. Total forgiveness is given and the guilt of your sin stops there. With you.
With forgiveness - total healing can occur and a repentant heart can bring about a 180 degree turn around in your life. But the choices that you make in life are not made in a vacuum. The effects of sin will impact those around you and the domino effect of influence will begin with one choice.
Remember that even though God has given you freedom to choose your own behavior it comes with a price, one that will be paid by not only you but also those within your circle of influence.
Think about those around you. How many people will be affected by your decision? How many innocents, who may not agree with your choice, will have to suffer because of it?
Satan is well aware of the consequences to the options you have before you.
Just think...if you:
Choose to abuse drugs and alcohol...... who will suffer while you are numb under the influence?
Choose to perpetuate racial hatred....who are you influencing to hate?
Choose to verbally or physically abuse another person in an uncontrollable rage....who is watching and learning from you? And who will suffer emotional damage because of that choice.
Choose to be unfaithful to your marriage.... who will suffer because of your infidelity?
Choose to be slothful, not providing for your family...what are you teaching your children?
Choose to exhibit behaviors that are so controlling that you have turned your home into a prison of control....who will suffer because of your behavior?
Choose to neglect your children - forgetting to nuture, love, show compassion and show attention to them..... you have influenced them to pertetuate that same behavior for generations to come.
Choose for your own wants and needs to come first - neglecting those around you.... will those who watch grow up self-centered and greedy?
Choose to reject a relationship with your Creator because of your own doubt - strongly and loudly voicing your disbelief in God? ....You may have influenced the innocents around you to doubt that He exists.
That choice is like one push of the dominos. That choice is like one rotting fruit. Once you make that move it starts a force that will impact the generations.
Maybe you are the one who was affected by the choices made by another person....you suffered from the sins of another.
You may have had an abusive parent or spouse, one who was consumed with anger or was under the influence of a substance, from a slothful parent who didn't care for your needs, from a spouse who was not faithful to his or her vows, from someone who denounced their belief in God and it has threatened to affect your own faith....
You may be suffering scars of:
Doubt in yourself
Disbelief in God
Lack of faith
Inability to love
Inability to trust
Fear and anxiety
Lack of motivation
To the third...fourth...and fifth generations.
The generational consequence of sin runs from generation to generation NOT because God continues to punish for the sins of our grandfathers but because, if not stopped, the sin pattern may continue. We learn from those who have influence over us - we unknowingly carry those same behaviors and those same beliefs over to the next generation - we continue to influence those within our circle of impact.
And the effects of the sins of others will continue by causing us to suffer the residual effects or by-products of their behavior.
And no it's not fair. But that is the effect of living in a fallen world.
But there is hope.
The first step in stopping the generational effects of sin is just say ... Stop!
God is a grace-filled God. He does not punish those who make a choice to turn their backs on their past - their own upbringing and the negative influence that others may have had on them. Give it to Him with a repentant heart and make a change. Pray that God will allow you to begin to make amends and to reverse the effects of a disobedient life.
God is a grace-filled God. He can take the hurt, the pain, the damage and the residual effects of wrong doing and the impact that your past has had on your present and work it for good. The rot that Satan put into play to influence and ruin your future can become a rich breeding ground for growth and to increase your faith so that you can influence others.
My Prayer today:
Father God, we live in a fallen world and you have given us the freedom to choose. I pray that we think before we make our choices in life. Our influence is strong and we have a great responsibility. Satan knows the impact that one choice can have on the generations to come. Give us wisdom. Heal us if we have been negatively affected by the sins of others. Break the bondage that sin has over our lives. We are chosing to be Your people and for
You to be our God.
We love and trust You completely. Amen.