“The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge…As I live saith the LORD, ye shall not have occasion anymore to use this proverb in Israel.” (Ezekiel 18:2-3)
God elaborates further on the fallacy of this proverb through the rest of the chapter and summarizes it in verse twenty: “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.” I don’t know how much plainer that could be, do you? At some point, life becomes an individual responsibility.
Whether it is the father or mother who insists upon castigating themselves over the sin or waywardness of a grown child, or the son or daughter who succumbs to the easy choice of laying personal blame on the perceived failures of a parent, the former is assuming unreasonable blame, while the other is sloughing off justifiable responsibility. I am aware parents wield a tremendous influence for good or bad on their children, but the final disposition of one’s life rests upon him or her. Either way, however, another person’s “sour grapes” should not have any effect on our own “teeth.”
I read an interesting illustration in the biography of the great preacher of by-gone days, Louis Talbot. He once told the story of a young man in his church, who was having trouble getting victory over a particular sin in his life. At one point, the young man threw up his hands in despair and said to Dr. Talbot, “My father had the same problem, and I’m must like him!” “Young man,” the old preacher shot back, “you have a new Father now; start acting like him!”
Our lineage cannot stop us, but leaning on it can.