The first half of Ezekiel 18 reveals some very straight truth about sin and responsibility for it. I love how the Message puts it: “The parents ate green apples, the children got stomachache”? I don’t hold myself out to be a counselor, but as a parent I have had many discussions with other parents about why their kids made bad choices in life and have turned away from or against God. Why did they do this or that is a common question we all ask about our kids. Pay very close attention to the answer Ezekiel and God’s Word in general has for this: “You die for your own sin, not another’s”. That is true of family, friends, employees, churches – it is God’s principal. We die for the choices we make – sin is a choice to disobey God – and we are accountable for our own choices but CANNOT take responsibility for what someone else does, even our own children. Sin is personal – it belongs to the one who made the choice to sin and no one else can take that responsibility or shield another from it. So many parents I talk with say “it is my fault” when discussing something a child has done. Please understand that I believe parenting is critical to the success and outcome of our kids lives, but when it comes to sin – they do that on their own. You and I do that on our own. The devil made me do it doesn’t fly, nor does my parents made me do it. Sin is a choice an individual makes – plain and simple. There may be influences and tendencies and all kinds of other factors that lead one to the edge of temptation, but the choice to sin, to violate God’s law and rules belongs to the sinner and no one else. Here is the real truth we need to latch on to from this chapter: “the person who lives upright and well shall live a full and true life”. Oh how this resonates to me. Living with a daily discipline of just doing the right things – living by strong spiritual habits – is so important in making sure we live “upright and well”. Life is daily. It is moment by moment. We need to be grounded in the right habits so we succeed. We need to build those habits into our kids lives too. That is our contribution to their future success with life and their relationship with God. As parents we need to teach them, remember life lessons and share those, and build spiritual habits into their lives that will endure the test of time. That is how we can help our kids and why Proverbs tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. So don’t ever fall for the idea you can transfer the punishment for sin to someone else. If you choose it, you will be the one who is held accountable before God. There is one piece of good news for all of us. Through grace and mercy, God has made a way for us to choose Jesus rather than deal with the end result of our sin. If we choose a relationship with Christ, He will take the penalty for our sin and set us free. We can’t push our sin on Him, but He has offered to take it if we will accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Short of that one solution, we will pay the price for how we live. Life matters. A life with Jesus is the only way!
Archive for April 11th, 2008