One of the things that used to make me crazy when I was a Middle School counselor was when a child sitting in front of me would say, “It’s my life. I’ll do what I want.” I’ve heard adults say and counselors applaud, “I’ve got to do what’s right for me.” But is that what is true according to Scripture?
The Israelites scoped out the Promised Land and said, “You’re not going to see me trying to take that land. It’s too hard.”
You might say, well, that was their choice. But that choice effected their children and their children’s children for forty years.
14:8 reminds us that, “The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression”
Some people think this verse ends here. But read on:
“but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the father on the children to the third and fourth generations.”
We don’t live in a bubble. Your decisions touch innumerable people every day. A teenager’s choice to have sex effects parents, siblings, babies conceived and who will be effected their whole lifetimes, perhaps even diseases that teenager will battle for years.
The decision to divorce effects whole families, sometimes for generations.
That decision to drink alcohol might seem like no big deal until that drink turns into an addiction that effects families, friends, and sometimes strangers.
But a decision to pray for your children, to read the Bible, to be active in the life of a Bible believing church fellowship, to tell the truth, to work hard, to represent Jesus in a visible way, effects people to the third and fourth generations, too. I know my grandmother prayed for me, and God is still answering her prayers fifty years after she died.
Sure it’s your life, a gift from God. Just know that how you live it effects many, many more people than just you. And for much longer than just the second it takes to make that choice.