Jordan Ministries
Embracing God's Promise of Abundance When Hardship Endures
The Sins of My Parents
by Jenny on July 12th, 2016

"I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject Me.  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Me and obey My commands." Exodus 20:5-6 (emphasis mine)

Did I catch your attention with the title of this blog? Good. But if you've arrived at this post expecting to read about the actual sins of my parents, prepare for disappointment. Even if I had a record of the sins of my parents I wouldn't share them. God says to honor our parents (not to mention, I'm certain my parents have a lengthy memory of my sins which I'd rather they not share publicly--like the time I inscribed my name on the toilet seat with a paper clip and then tried to blame it on my sister who couldn't yet write or spell).

The Bible speaks in several places about God laying the sins of parents upon their children. At first glance this seems unfair. Why should God deliberately place on me sin that someone else chose to commit? On second thought, many may find verses such as Exodus 20:5-6 a perfect excuse for sin. "I can't help it . . . I learned it from my parents."

Everyone endures the effect of generational sin. Some generational sin is blatant. Other sins prove easier to hide. We are all byproducts of the environment in which were raised. Some traditions we choose to continue such as holiday dinners and family vacations. Other lifestyles we'd rather not repeat. While the effects of generational sin pass down to the next generation (and sometimes the next) the cycle of generational sin can stop in an instant.

Notice the first bold print in the Scripture verse above. It is the sin of unbelieving parents that passes down from generation to generation. Children are not punished for the sins of their parents. Ezekiel 18:4 clearly states that the person who sins is the person who receives punishment for that sin. It is the effect of sin that passes down from generation to generation--but only for those who fail to embrace the forgiveness and restoration of God.

Notice the second bold print in the Scripture verse above. God lavishes unfailing love for THOUSANDS of generations on those who love God and who live the way He tells us to live.

Sin stinks. Generational sin stinks. But generational sin does not have to be a life sentence. God promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). God doesn't promise that all things will be good. God promises to work all things for good.

God in His unfathomable power can and will use the hurts in your life, the effects of brokenness, and turn it into something good. This promise doesn't apply to the "perfect" family (there has never been a perfect family). This promise applies to anyone who loves God.

Generational sin does not have to continue. Your family does not always have to live "this way." If there is a pattern of behavior in your family that you wish would break, YOU can be the one to turn to God and ask for a new way of living. Confess the sin, admit that God's ways are better and ask God to help you live the way He would have you to live. I wish children could read this post and know--you don't have to continue with the choices and lifestyles of your parents. God lays the sins of parents upon the children of those who reject Him. But He lavishes unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Him and obey His commands. (Exodus 20:5-6)

Posted in Newness of Life, Parenting    Tagged with no tags


Christy Miller - July 12th, 2016 at 7:28 AM
Jenny I would like to delve further into this subject--maybe we could discuss this at a later time together.I like your interpretation of this better than any I have ever heard.
Sharon Rid@dle - July 12th, 2016 at 8:04 AM
Here are the references to this promise from the NASB version. EX. 20:6 But showing lovingkindness to thousands to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
DEU 5:9-10 '%u2026for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
DEU 7:9 "Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
PSA 105:8 He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
1CH 16:15 Remember His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
JER. 32:18 Who showest lovingkindness to thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them.

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Crossing Your Jordan

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling, Bible-teaching mom of six, and wife to my college sweetheart. I believe everyone can live a life of abundance through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and radical obedience to His Word.

Do you have a relationship with God through Christ? If not, I would consider it pure joy to tell you about God, why you need Him, and how to be reconciled to Him through Christ.

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