Sounds ominous and scary, right? This is such an Old Testament concept that I disregarded it for years.
Exodus 20:5b, 6 “, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” KJV
I am of the generation of the thousands that love God. I have a godly heritage. Yet, I see sin in my children that I see in myself. I discipline them for sin that I practice. Sure, I am honest and tell them that I struggle with that as well. I apologize even, when I act out toward them in a sinful manner. Am I, though, being an example of the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control?
Yesterday, I read this passage to my sons from Romans 2. It is from the Phillips translation, I am going to take my own liberties and stick my name in there when it says Jews. After all, I am grafted into the lineage of Abraham as a child of God.
“You Jews (Lesa) are privileged—do you live up to your privileges? You can, therefore, confidently look upon yourself as a guide to those who do not know the way, and as a light to those who are groping in the dark. You can instruct those who have no spiritual wisdom: you can teach those who, spiritually speaking are only just out of the cradle. You have a certain grasp of the basis of true knowledge. You have without doubt very great advantages. But, prepared as you are to instruct others, do you ever teach yourself anything…(OUCH!) You preach against stealing, for example, but are you sure of your own honesty? You denounce the practice of adultery, but are you sure of your own purity? You loathe idolatry but how honest are you…?”
I see behaviors in my children that make me examine myself. Lately, due to conversations with my daughter, I have been apologizing for the bad example I have set. In Colossians 3 there is quite a spiritually convicting list of sins I need to turn away from. Things like wanting more than I have, anger, filthy communication which can entail everything from name calling to gossip, and more.
Then there is a beautiful list of things that I am called to do as a new creation in the Lord Jesus Christ: have a compassionate heart, be holy and humble, be thankful, sing, and even work.
My husband and children see the worst in me. Yet they love me and are so forgiving of my many faults. I hide the worst from the rest of the world. I cannot hide, nor do I want to hide from God. I am a sinner saved by God’s grace through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. Until the day I die I will pray verses like this:
Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!“
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness“
He forgives me. Every time. My responsibility is to keep drawing closer to God through Jesus.