By Robert Halsey Pine
“The word of the Lord came to me: What do you mean by repeating this pro-verb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge?’ As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:1-4 NRSV).
As the Lord says in the above scripture, “Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine; it is only the person who sins that shall die,” it is comforting to know that God does not hold us responsible for another’s sin. That our children are not accountable for our sins and we are not accountable for their sins. This the Lord revealed to Ezekiel.
On another level, however, we must be responsible for what we are teaching and modeling for our own and future generations. We are called to share the Lord with our children and all those that we contact. We are called to live and share the life of Christ. Many times, and in unique ways a child can teach the parent something about the Godly life. It is ultimately, however, the individual’s responsibility to keep God’s law.
Living and sharing the Gospel is what is important in life. It is what God is calling us to do. What does our lifestyle communicate to our children, to our friends and neighbors? This is where the work is. Our own personal discipline to keep our eyes on Christ is key. It’s no coincidence that disciple and discipline share the same first seven letters.
And the Good News is that through Christ’s crucifixion and atonement for our sin, we can start anew. When we turn to the Lord and dedicate our lives to Him, our loving and guiding creator, Ezekiel reminds us that God does not remember our sins. However, let us ever turn back to our old and sinful ways and we shall die.
Heavenly Father, help me to live and reflect Your essence. Give me the strength to discipline my life in You. Prepare me to be Your influence in the lives of all those I touch. Give me the courage to take a stand for You and make it my own. Give me the courage to be bold in the world for You. In the name of Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, I pray, amen.
Robert Halsey Pine is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.