I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations. Exodus 34:7 NLT
Sin’s fallout effects are never pleasant.
My wife and I pass a particular church’s parking lot on the way to our church. We were once affiliated with this church when the parking lot was full and so were most of the seats inside. The music was awesome, and the preaching charismatic. New members joined regularly, and excitement filled the air.
Now, things are different. The auditorium is only half filled and there is an air of despondency. Not because of anything any of the current members have done, but because of sin’s fallout effect. A leader—and a few members—chose to delve into sin, and now the entire church is feeling the effect.
I once thought this verse was confusing…even unfair. Why should children and their children suffer for something they didn’t do? Then I discovered a better interpretation. God isn’t saying they are responsible for their relatives’ sins but that they will feel the fallout from them.
Though I’m responsible to God for my personal sins, they are rarely private in that they affect only me. Thousands of children suffer physical and emotional ailments because their moms chose to use dangerous substances while they were pregnant or because parents chose to berate them with emotionally damaging messages. Numerous spouses have irreparably ruined credit records due to poor decisions by an ex-spouse. And many reputations suffer when the person themselves had no control over a bad situation.
Since I’m involved with others in some fashion, my closest associates will feel the effects of my decisions. Choosing to sin is never just about me. Not only will my sinful choices take me where I really don’t want to go—even though I think I might—I’ll carry others with me who unwillingly don’t want to go but who are carried along by association. I’ll then keep them—and myself, longer than any of us really want to stay, and the cost will be astronomical.
While confessing sin is crucial, rarely does it remove the consequences of my decisions. Consequences are God’s reminders. Better yet is my making a commitment to live a pure life and to walk in the power of the new nature God has given me. When I do this, I’ll experience less of sin’s fallout effect—and so will others who are close to me.
What can you do to prevent sin’s fallout effect in your life?
Prayer: Father, remind us our bodies are temples of Your Spirit and that we are to present them as a pure and holy sacrifice to You.
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