Imagine Adam and Eve in the Garden. They’ve just eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They are savoring its flavor and enjoying its texture. They have not yet been convicted of their sin.
At this moment, do you think they are paying any mind to consequences? Do they have any idea their behavior is cursing the generations to follow after them?
Because we are still paying the penalty for their sin. They couldn’t see this for the selfishness in their hearts. Sin doesn’t think ahead. It lives for the moment. It trades immediate personal benefit for the pain of others in the future.
Only three chapters later in Genesis, God grieves that He ever created man in the first place. The sin of Adam and Eve reaped a harvest of rebellion and corruption, so God caused the Great Flood. It wiped out everyone on other but Noah and his family.
Make no mistake: Our behavior today affects the next generation. Consider Mark 9:42—“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.”
We have an awesome responsibility as parents. Even those who are not parents still have a responsibility, as members of society, to the children impacted directly or indirectly by the way we live.
How will our decisions now impact the children of tomorrow? Some parents are laying their children on the altar of their pleasures. Others are actively leading an entire generation astray. For both cases, there will be a heavy price to pay.
In Deuteronomy 5:9, God spoke these powerful words to Moses: “…for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.”
The sins of disobedient fathers, God said, would impact generations after them. As parents, our habits, language, attitudes, values, priorities, and lives are directly influencing our great-great-grandchildren.
Do not forget this! To remember it is to raise our level of care about how we live.
Besides God and our spouses, our children are the most precious things we have in this life. When our influence on children is caring and loving, we are blessing the future. When our influence is harmful or negligent, we are cursing the future.
So pray for your children. Be a good role model for them. Love them with the love of Christ. Point them toward the Lord. This is an overwhelming responsibility and we are imperfect people, but God understands this. He isn’t looking for perfection, but for commitment and sincerity.
He will forgive our failures when we make mistakes. He’ll give us wisdom and strength. He’ll provide us every resource for success as parents and spouses. But it is our responsibility to be good, godly stewards of the generation God has put in our care.