I saw a father walk into a store with two elementary-aged girls. I assume they were his daughters. The man was wearing a t-shirt with a horrible vulgarity on it—the kind of thing that still shocks me to see in public.
I looked at the man and wondered to myself what he was thinking. How did he justify putting on that shirt and wearing it in front of two impressionable young girls? (Not to mention all the other kids who saw his shirt that day and every other days he wore it.)
Talk about selfish and short-sighted behavior! This is an example of how easy it is for parents, grandparents, and other authority figures to focus only on what they want today, rather than thinking about the future. What values was that father passing on to his daughters?
The inheritance we leave our descendants is more than just money. We pass along our strong values. We leave behind our good name, our positive example of marriage, our parenting and life skills, our demonstrations of affection, and our spiritual guidance. (Or, we pass along the absence of those things.)
Whether bad or good, every parent influences the generations that follow him or her. Godly parents understand the power of their influence and use it wisely. They want to extend the blessings of their lives to their children and future generations.
Leaving a good inheritance to future generations never happens by accident, because righteousness doesn’t happen by accident. We live in a sin-filled world with an evil enemy stalking us daily. Living a life that has a happy ending requires premeditation and tough choices.
But if we pursue godly lives we will be blessed for it. And, those blessings will be passed along to future generations.
Unfortunately, though, the opposite is also true. When parents sin—unless they repent and change their behavior—their children will always pay a price. This is especially true of parents with children at home under the age of 18.
Every action, good or bad, has a generational impact whether we realize it or not, and whether we intend it or not.
In Exodus 34, the Lord says that the sins of fathers are visited upon their children, and their children’s children, even to the third and fourth generation. This is called generational transference. Negative or positive, everything parents do affects their great-great-grandchildren!
Parents who live unrighteous lives do so because they don’t think beyond the moment, or they believe their behavior has no bearing on the future. This is a delusion.
With every behavioral choice, the questions we should be asking are: What impact will this decision today have on my children tomorrow? How will it affect my grandchildren?
Generational transference happens whether you intend it or not. Will yours be positive or negative? This will be determine by the choices you make today…and every day.