If you were granted one wish of having a one-hour conversation with anyone, who would you choose? I would choose God Himself.
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 Do not quote this proverb, because both parents and children belong to me.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.
THE WICKED SON.
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!
GENERATIONAL BLESSINGS AND CURSES.
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.