In today’s reading, Ezekiel 17:1-19:14, the prophet lays out an important truth: each person is responsible for himself before God (Ezekiel 18:20). We do not bear the weight of our parents’ sin, but we do bear the weight of our own. On the other hand, parents are responsible for modeling grace and patience as they raise their children with a knowledge of biblical truth.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 ESV
But there are limits to this responsibility, if we take into account what Ezekiel says. Parents are dependent on the Lord to call their children to Him and are not responsible for the sins of their children who may go astray from the teaching they have received.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44 ESV
This certainly does not alleviate the pain that parents of unbelieving children feel, but it does assure them that each one will stand before God and answer for himself. Meanwhile, those parents pray for their children and trust God that all who are His will come to Him.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. John 6:37 ESV
That’s the promise Jesus Christ makes to us who still wait on Him to save our loved ones. Count on it. Keep praying.
[For more reflections on today’s reading, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].