It is a fact that all need to be aware of that our choices and decision and therefore our actions all have consequences. Occasionally we will look back and say, “if I had only done this differently, everything would be different now”. The adult population of this current society are in dire need to learn about the consequences of our actions. And of course, do keep in mind we are really talking about unintended consequences, things we never really considered would be the end result of our actions.
It is extremely important that we teach our children about this all important truth. When young people decide to have sex before marriage, the unintended consequences may well be unwanted pregnancy or disease. When the opportunity to partake in alcoholic beverages arises, to drink may well result in things never considered. Many a young girl has lost her virginity after having a few drinks more than they intended. Car crashes, maimed bodies and death can be the consequences of drinking. As the young reach maturity and marry, the truth of unintended consequences does not fade away. Just one episode of adultery can lead to divorce and the tearing apart of possibly two families, often with children involved.
Now, we wish to bring this consideration of consequences of our actions to a realm we usually forget to mention when considering the topic. Let us bring it to the realm of our spiritual life. Though there are some that have the view that one has no real control over whether they will be lost or saved, that God had already legislated concerning their salvation prior to their ever even being born, the Bible teaches that we have choice in this matter. John wrote, “…whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
Jesus said “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden…” (Matt. 11:28). Paul told Timothy, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4). Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). This being the case, each and every one of us has the right to obey God and enter into the kingdom of heaven or to reject God and fail to have that eternal home. The choice is ours. As Joshua once told the nation of Israel, “…choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Josh. 24:15). But what about the children?
One’s decision to reject God and His way may very well bear great adverse consequences on one’s children. No, the children are guilty of the sins of their parents. The prophet Ezekiel stated, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him”. The very definition of sin rejects the notion that one person can bear the guilt of another person’s sin. One sins by disobeying God’s law (I John 3:4), thus it is something one does, not something someone else has done. No, the children are not burdened with the guilt of their parent’s disobedience, but they certainly can bear the consequences of such sin on the part of their parents.
Just a couple of examples can illustrate the above truth. In the days of the great flood in which only eight people, Noah and his wife and their two sons with their wives, were saved from the death of mankind. God had seen that the wickedness of man was great (Gen. 6:5) and determined to destroy man from the face of the earth (Gen. 6:7). Does anyone think for one minute that there were no children on earth at the time? Those children suffered the consequences of the wickedness of their parents. The account of Korah’s rebellion found in Numbers chapter sixteen serves as another great example of the children bearing the consequences of the sins of their parents.
As we near the conclusion of our thoughts for this article, let us make the application that all the above information warrants. Though there are plenty of exceptions, the largest percentage of children will grow up to follow in the footsteps of their parents in the spiritual realm. If one thinks their children does not watch what they do and copy it, that person is sadly mistaken.
If our decision, and the acts that follow, is to obey the word of God and live for an eternal reward in heaven, it is not at all unlikely that our children will follow that same path. It is however also likely that if we just dabble at Christianity, here a little and there a little, that our children will be the same such lukewarm Christians if they even bother to become Christians at all. Jesus points out that it is the few that will have eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14) and the few may well be fewer than we think. We can wait to the judgment to find out that we have followed the man that will enter into eternal damnation if we so desire, but what about the children?
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: email@example.com.