Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Slow Learners

"...they did worse than their fathers." (Jeremiah 7:26b)

Why is it that children so often repeat the mistakes of their parents rather than learning from them? And what's worse, why do their offenses seem to be even more severe? Of course, part of it may be that it is always easier to take the way of least resistance, blaming our failures on heredity and environment. A popular, easy, and cowardly option. To believe oneself predetermined for sin and failure is to accuse our parents (and, by extension, God) for choices we ourselves make.

It can also be an unconscious (or conscious) means of repaying those faults in our parents we are bound to see as we get older. But that's rather like saying, "I'll cut off my nose because there's a wart on yours." Fortunately, as they mature, many young people begin to see the fallacy of this kind of self-destructive thinking.

I realize there are some people who seem to only learn by experience; but, frankly, I don't see them as being the brightest among us. As the little adage I am fond of quoting goes: "Experience is a poor teacher; it tests first and teaches later." If anything, the next generation should excel the previous. Not only do they have access to the previous generation's knowledge, they also have access to its experiences, both good and bad. Of course, what they do with these tools is a choice they make on their own. And one thing is for sure; when the time comes, they alone will be accountable for that choice.

"So then every one shall give account of himself to God." (Rom. 14:12)

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