The Bible shows us people, even those used greatly by God, with all their warts and shortcomings. But it, also, shows us the consequences they faced as a result.
As we look at our own lives, we should allow the consequences for our poor choices to make us wiser. But if we’ve accepted His gracious gift of forgiveness and cleansing, we should, also, remember God’s mercy and grace in forgiving us and changing us.
Those of us who are parents often pray our children will avoid some of the mistakes we’ve made so they won’t suffer the same consequences. We should share our testimonies with them in ways that are reasonably transparent, yet wise.
But could there be something we do without realizing it that might backfire as it plays out in the lives of our children?
1 Chronicles 13 & 14
Reasonably Transparent about Our Own Sin
The Horrible Consequences of Sin
1 Chronicles 13 & 14:
God allows us to see the men and women He uses with all their warts and failings:
Verse 14.3, “Then David took more wives in Jerusalem, and David begot more sons and daughters.”
Remember kings had been specifically commanded not to take multiple wives (Deut. 17.17). Even though God allowed him to do so, He didn’t condone it. And the history of his life and family reveals the horrible consequences, including: infighting, jealousy, incest, and murder. So don’t be tempted to think the men and women in the Bible somehow got a pass on sin.
As a pastor friend of ours used to say, “You can choose to sin, but you don’t get to choose the consequences.”
Someone else has said:
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay”– unknown
The title of this psalm is “A Contemplation of Asaph.” A contemplation is “something to think about.”
Verse 4 reminds the people to tell their children the stories of their history and what God had done. Verses 6-7:
6 That the generation to come might know them,
The children who would be born,
That they may arise and declare them to their children,
7 That they may set their hope in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments.
We, too, should tell our stories to our children, being “reasonably” transparent about our own mistakes. I say “reasonably” transparent because they don’t need all the gory details. Make sure what you share is age appropriate.
We should remind them of God’s grace, mercy, and blessings in our lives, even though in many cases, He allowed us to suffer the consequences of our foolish or sinful behavior.
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life (Gal. 6.7-8).
Share the grace and mercy of God in saving you and setting your feet on the right path.
We should be transparent, too, when we sin or have sinned against them in some way, either directly or indirectly by arguing or acting selfishly in front of them. We should be willing to admit our sins and seek their forgiveness.
A Word of Caution
I’d like to offer a word of caution about sharing your past with your children. First ask yourself about your own attitude toward Your sinful past. Kevin Johnson who co-wrote The Peacemaker Student Edition says:
I frequently hear parents say they don’t want their teenagers to abuse alcohol. But I have heard some of those same parents laugh as they recount stories of partying their way through high school or college. They have never thoroughly changed their minds about their wrongdoing, and their halfhearted remorse puts them on the road to further grief. Their sons and daughters can’t help but absorb that attitude.
Amen or “Oh, me!”
“Those that would be wise …”
Verse 20, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.”
Matthew Henry comments about verse 20:
“Those that would be wise in their latter end must hear counsel and receive instruction, in their beginnings, must be willing to be taught and ruled, willing to be advised and reproved, when they are young. Those that would be stored in winter must gather in summer.”
What a great quote!
The Danger of “Playing Around” with Sin
In this passage Stephen recounted the sad history of Israel. I say sad because even though it included all of God’s mighty acts, the people as a whole still went their own way.
And as a result, “God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets …” (vs. 42).
God is patient and merciful, but He does reach a point where, when we have repeatedly rejected God’s truth, He will give us up to our own sinful desires (Rom. 1.18-32). The result is a downward spiral of sin and idolatry that is progressively harder to escape. We should not think we can knowingly “play around” with sin as if there were no consequences.
“Just Keep Swimming, Swimming, Swimming …”
Reading through the Bible is a great goal and worth persevering through to the end even if it takes longer than expected. To quote that great philosopher Dory, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim, swim.”
That’s true with many other areas of life, as well, not because we’re swimming on our own or reliant on our own strength, but because the Christian life requires perseverance and faithfulness.
Special Offer for the month of June only: If you sign up for “Christian Living” posts and “Bible in a Year” posts here and here (you must click both links and add your email address), I’ll send you a Kindle version of “Help, I”m Depressed” by Life Line Mini-Books.
Does this sound like you? “Troubling thoughts flood my mind. I lie in bed alone, beseeching God on behalf of my three children. The tears come as I wonder why the Lord seems so far away and why prayers remain unanswered. Life seems so unfair. Why is it so hard? In the “depths of despair” I know I have a choice to make. Am I going to allow these feelings to destroy me?”