Parental Guilt

If you were granted one wish of having a one-hour conversation with anyone, who would you choose? I would choose God Himself.

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

We have diverse social and religious traditions on which we make judgements about others – especially assigning blame for the life-choices of others. Fortunately for us, God had a fascinating discourse about this (in Ezekiel 18), which I shall paraphrase below. The speaker is God Himself.


Why do you quote this proverb: “The parents eat sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? Do not quote this proverb, because both parents and children belong to me. It is the soul who sins who shall die.

Suppose there was a man who did what is good and right. He did not: serve false gods, oppress anyone, charge interest on loans, but was: faithful to his wife, assisted those in need and judged fairly between disputing parties. That man shall live.


Suppose that righteous man had a son who: served false gods, oppressed those in need, charged interest on loans, was unfaithful to his wife, or did detestable things. That man shall die and be wholly responsible for his own death.

Suppose that wicked son had a son who saw the wicked things his father did and rejected them. He did not: serve false gods, oppress anyone, charge interest on loans, but was: faithful to his wife, assisted those in need, and judged fairly between disputing parties. That man shall not die for his father’s wickedness – he will surely live.


Yet you ask, “Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?” Since the son has done what is just and right, he will surely live. The one who sins is the one who will die.

The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.


But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the offenses they committed before will be remembered against them. Instead, they will live because of the righteous things they did afterward.

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? No. Instead, I am pleased when they turn from their wicked ways and live.


But if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits sin, and does the same detestable things a wicked person does, will they live? No. None of the righteous things that person did before will be remembered. They will die because of the wickedness they did afterward.

Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is not just.” Whose ways are unjust, yours or mine?


If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, then they will die for the sin they have committed. But if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will save their life.

Therefore, since you will each be judged according to your own ways, turn away from all your offenses and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone. Repent and live!


From that fascinating discourse with our Creator, we may conclude that regardless of how much weight we may wish to apply to the actions of parents in influencing the life-choices of children, each person must make the decision for themselves on whether to behave responsibly or irresponsibly, regardless of their parental or peer-influences.

While blessings and curses may be observed to run through generations, any individual in that generational line can choose, by their actions, to allow the blessings or curses to continue. Once they have done their best, parents should feel no guilt for any bad actions of their adult children, and adult children should feel no guilt for any bad actions of their parents.

Grenville Phillips II is a Doctor of Engineering and a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at

7 thoughts on “Parental Guilt

  1. What nonsense, as point of departure!

    That any human can presume to known Ntr, spoken to by Ntr, has always been ignorance.

    The Ancient never presumed to ‘know’ Ntr, yet these propaganda works presume to.

    And yet misguided idiots continue to regurgitate all these fanciful tales of yore, with a demonic determination.

  2. When people die their soul returns to it’s original source i.e. the creator of the universe and everything in it who’s heart is located in the centre of heaven. Those souls who built up good karma will remain and others will be reborn to try again. Souls have no memory of their life, who they were, when they died.

  3. This is a traditional religious position. It reflects the culture of the time in which and for which it was written. My concern is what should it mean for us in the third millennium of the Common Era?. Does our God speak to us in these terminologies?. Are they fit for purpose?

  4. 2 ⭐ ⭐ stars right backatcha,
    I have created a protective shield of light all around my body like a golden egg of light, and see any negativity bouncing towards me going straight back towards the source of all bouncing off this light circle going straight towards the source of all to be transformed and I feel myself protected in this bubble of light. We bow to the truth within we bow to the state of being where we are reverberating our unique essence our loving awareness the essence of self. Sat nam I am truth.

  5. @ Soul 

    First, before any theories on this can be explored, we need to at least loosely agree on the nature of, and differences between, the following: heart, mind, brain/body, spirit and soul, the ego, and the self. I suspect each of us will define and delineate between these in vastly different ways, with many people rejecting some of them altogether. But this is a good and interesting question, so maybe we can figure out where our memories might remain after death, if anywhere. I am assuming that’s what your question boils down to?

    The self is the broadest of these, because it encompasses your perception of all of them. The heart is where you feel emotion. Spirit and soul are probably roughly synonymous for most people’s , so let’s just go with soul. Mind is where you think. The brain and body is your physical home, the temporary vessel of all these. The ego is that part of your mind that is centered around the body and the self.

    So you are a soul, a body (including heart and brain) a mind, and an ego, and a self-perception of all these. Now, if you pass away, we can subtract the body. The ego, being centered on the body, will likely disappear with it, or at least become much weaker. Now you are left with a mind and a soul. Where are the memories?

    Well, the soul is a spiritual body, and the mind is a collection of thoughts. Memories lie in between. We remember them, typically, due to their emotional content, but the details and framework reside in the mind. When the emotion arises, the memory appears, or vice-versa.

    So, we are an emotional being, the soul, and a thinking being, the mind. The soul is the vessel, and the mind is the director. In our physical beings, all feeling (sensation) is experienced in the brain (mind).

    The body is just a home for the brain, through which it feels and acts within the world. Without the brain, the body feels and does nothing. A brain that was somehow kept alive could conceivably still think though, and if connected to an android could conceivably even feel and act.

    You can think of the soul as parallel to the body. The soul is an extension of the mind, its vessel which also comes forth from it. The soul is the mind’s vessel for feeling and acting.

    So really our emotions come from our mind, and are felt within our mind, but through the vessel of either the body or the soul, or possibly both when we are in our bodies.

    Therfore, I would say yes, your memories do remain in your soul, because your mind still exists, and it thinks the memories, and feels them through the soul.

    Now there is also the question of the memories that were thought and felt through the ego. The ego and body feel fear. The mind and soul, being eternal, have nothing to fear. They also don’t have craving, hate, etc. So it is definitely possible that those memories centered on these emotions and ideas that are linked to the body and the ego, are largely forgotten, because they can’t be felt in the same way by the soul and mind. They may be filed away as thoughts, learning experiences, but not real memories with strong emotion attached to them.

    So while your memories likely remain, it is the ones centered on the soul’s emotional context that would stay real for you. The others would be more like resource texts, in which you could imagine the emotion but really not feel it. Those that are supported by the emotions of a loving connection with others would remain with full clarity???

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