What's Growing in Your Garden? (Part One)
by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
Crosswalk: Moments Together for Couples
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.(Exodus: 34:6-7- NIV)
Dag Hammerskjold, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, once said, "You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal; play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth; play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds."
Did you know that what you grow and cultivate in your garden today could spread to your offspring? Did you know that a sin you now tolerate could still be tormenting your great-grandchildren in the year 2140? That's four generations from now.
Consider the warning of Scripture at the top of this page. What does it mean? Why would God set up a system that visits one generation's sins on three or four other generations?
I have a hunch that God is trying to tell us that the way we live impacts others and is of supreme importance to Him. Possibly He's using a warning of future judgment on our descendants to keep us on the straight and narrow today.
Whether you like it or not, your children are becoming just like you. Their little eyes are watching to see how you relate to your mate, how you pray, how you walk with Christ on a daily basis. They hear your words and subconsciously mimic your attitudes, actions and even your mannerisms.
And as time goes by you'll find that they've "inherited" some of the same tendencies towards sin that you learned from your own parents. That's why so many children from broken homes, for example, grow up and fail in their own marriages.
Your kids will grow up to be like you. Is that a sobering thought, or an encouraging one?
Is there a sin that you've tolerated in your life that you need to go to God in prayer right now and confess? As you repent, you may want to ask God for grace to protect your children from that sin in the future.
In what ways do you want your children to be like you? In what ways do you not want them to be like you?
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