19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.
20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
We are told not to judge others and yet, the practice of judging people by their family connections is probably as old as humanity. It obviously true during the Babylonian exile; it was prevalent in Jesus time, and it is true today. If it weren’t a common practice, then God would not have had to ask Ezekiel to pass on the above message. Parents are often blamed when one of their children gets into trouble, is arrested or becomes addicted to alcohol or drugs. I have known families who have one child in jail and another on the police force! I have known children who have overcome the embarrassment of having had a parent who was in jail or who was an addict.
When Jesus cured the man born blind, he was asked if his blindness was called by his sin or the sin of his parents. Jesus responded that his blindness was not the result of anyone’s sin. If a woman has a miscarriage, or has a child with a birth defect, she is sometimes asked if she took something or did something that might have caused it, as if she is somehow to blame! Why is it that we insist that bad things that happen to people must be the result of something they did to deserve it? I am so grateful that God does not judge us by the same standards that we often use to judge others – even though we’re not supposed to be judging at all!
May we pay attention to ourselves and our own behavior and make sure that it is in line with what God expects of us and leave the judging to the only one who has that right – God.
Lord, thank you for letting us know that we are judged on our own merits and not by the behavior of our parents or children whether their actions are sinful or not. We are responsible for ourselves. Please give us the grace we need to act in ways that will be pleasing to you. Amen.