Monday, April 16, 2012
INIQUITY IS WHAT?
At least one preacher has stated that iniquity that is passed on from generation to generation is not sin. Sin is the following short of the mark of perfection, failing to be Holy as He is Holy. Iniquity is actually the BENT to sin, usually a particular sin, and it is passed down from generation to generation as a tool to depend on in life.
I am not a scholar so I will not try to prove him right or wrong, I will just say that I believe iniquity is equal, and synonymous with sin; but it also has a separate definition which indicates there is a possible narrower statement being made. One out of dozens of verses THAT speaks to the passing of iniquity from generation to generation is Exodus 34:7: Keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation
This caught my attention for two reasons. The first is that I have always found the statement about iniquity being passed on as a mystery. We know that sin is passed on in the flesh until all is set right in the final plans of God. So, why this condemnation, and what does it really mean other than that?
The second is that I am very familiar with the bent to certain sin, but I have never pursued the meaning of these things. For instance, I grew up in a home full of alcohol and cigarette smoke and I never desired to participate in either, but my brother chose to follow the bent for both of these and the bent of his father to be a womanizer. I thank God for keeping me from taking up the family bad habits, but I never thought the whole thing through before.
I have also been a part of a group that demonstrates this generational passing on of the penchant for certain sins from past generations through to newer generations. I think we can all relate to this even if only through the news, movies or TV shows.
I asked a friend who is a recovering alcoholic and is serving God in great and wonderful ways if this penchant to drink one’s troubles away came down the line and he agreed that it certainly did and that he saw it arise in the next generation as well, even though he had stopped drinking before these children even knew anything about drinking. One of our good friends who died recently also bemoaned and regretted most of all that his children’s lives had been ruined by alcohol because of his own use of alcohol and drugs.
Then there are the rampant, out-of-control results of spousal abuse, “wife beating.” that we all see when the the father beats his wife. The son will follow suit, almost assuredly. Sexual abuse, with in the family or through strangers, will bear fruit to more and more abuse. Even laziness can become a family iniquity that is passed on generation-ally. We see it often in homes where mothers have no ambition to be serious about caring for
their children and force the state to help out to the point that daughter, granddaughter and on take the same position over and over again. Remembering that at any point a decision can be made to stop carrying on the family traditions, it is never the less, IS a given that a decision must be made before anything can change. The simplest decision is to “cry out to Jesus” for help, but even simply pulling up the boot straps and rebelling against these bad habits of living has been known to work for some to at least set them on a different path. How many of us know women who grew up in messy homes who are spotless housekeepers and visa-versa?
But one other generational deviance comes to mind as well: Deception. From Abraham’s brother to his son and granddaughters, from Jacobs mother to her son and to 11 of his sons, deception became a way of life. But there is also a very interesting story of deception in the tribes of New Guinea that were discovered and written about in the ‘70s in a book called The Peace Child, by Don Richardson. The tribes they ministered to lived by deception to the point of believing that deceiving someone was a reason for honor. As the mystery of this unfolds it becomes apparent that somehow these people have been passed down a heritage based on Judas as a hero. When it is found that they actually do have a way to make amends that is based on a Peace Child, it becomes clear that somewhere in their past, someone heard the message of Christ and passed it on, but it became extremely distorted and Judas became the hero; an example to follow. This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read in that it supports the fact that Christ has been preached to people we think have never heard. God did not lie when He said that the Word, Christ, was preached in all the world. And neither did he lie or exaggerate that what we do will imprint on our children and they will carry it forward, good or bad.
And when Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones to sin…” would be better off dead, He meant that too.
Lord may we be ever mindful of the children: Our children, our neighbors children, our church children, the children in our classrooms, all the children who will be watching and listening and learning from us whether we want them, or intend for them to or not.
“The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”