Exodus 20:4–6; 34:5–9
All of us have heard the following statement, which is usually said in disgust, “You're just like your father/mother!” In other settings, we've repeated the saying, “The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.” Are those merely throwaway words, or could there be some truth in them? We acknowledge that, being human, we are sinful people—sinners by nature, through choice, and from birth.
We were born with the same sinful nature that characterized our parents (Psalm 51:5) and that we “go astray from birth (58:3).” The prophet Isaiah states, “you have been called a rebel from birth (Isaiah 48:8).” But is our sinful condition only ours, or do we, in fact, inherit some of the sinful traits that our parents or our grandparents (perhaps, even our great-grandparents) had? Can we trace certain acts of iniquity back to our ancestors?
The answer is yes. While it may be disturbing, we're going to discover from the Scriptures that there are generational links to acts of iniquity. These lingering “bents” do not stop with the deaths of our ancestors. Wise are the parents who understand this, observe the reality of it in their own children, and then appropriately deal with it to bring an end to longstanding familial iniquity.
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