Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 31:27-34
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. In those days they shall no longer say:
‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge. —Jeremiah 31:27-30
God promised restoration to Israel even in the midst of exile. The comment about sour grapes refers to a proverb of the ages also quoted in Ezekiel 18:2. In reality, the sins of parents impact their children in one way or another. In some instances, children follow the parent’s example. Sometimes children learn from the mistakes of their parents and work hard not to replicate them. Once, the juvenile court called me to give my opinion on whether a 14-year-old should be tried as an adult for grand-theft auto. At that young age, he had been caught and found guilty of the crime several times. He was following in the family business. Probably had accompanied his father on similar adventures from his earliest years. One time the police stopped him, because they thought they were following a driverless car. He was so short they could not see his head from the back.
No parent is perfect; adults do all miss the mark from time to time. Hopefully, we learn from our own mistakes and children see us rectifying them as we attempt to change. Learning how to seek God’s forgiveness and guidance also must be modeled by parents.
The admonition in our scripture targets society too. We wrap children and adults in packages of prejudice that do not relate to who a person is or what he or she might be able to accomplish given a chance. If God chooses not to leave the taste of sour grapes in a child’s mouth neither should we.
Prayer: Lord, make us seers and developers of positive potential, not judges chaining our children in their negative histories. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved