There are worse things to pass on to one’s children and grandchildren. And [Jehoram] walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab; for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah... [Ahaziah] also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab; for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly… And Joram said, Make ready. And they made ready his chariot. And Joram king of Israel…went out to meet Jehu…And…he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of your mother Jezebel…are so many? 2 Chron 21:6; 22:3; 2 Kgs 9:21.
Are you familiar with this narrative in the Bible? Start in 1 Kings 16 and read through chapter 11 of 2 Kings some night when you want a really good story. It is a little of everything: a family saga; an action-adventure story; a political thriller. It has a villainess of unspeakable cruelty, an underground movement, a mole in the hierarchy, and a hero who saves the day. All of this was brought about by the evil influence Ahab and Jezebel had on their children and grandchildren.
Perhaps the worst of the bunch was Athaliah, their daughter, who reached the point that she could order the murder of “all the seed royal,” among them her own grandchildren. I have always thought this woman’s crimes especially heinous but now, having held a grandchild in my arms, I know she must have reached a level of moral depravity nearly unheard of, at least among God’s people. That is what her parents passed on to her, for the next generation always sees our inconsistencies, the line we will not cross because of the inhibiting baggage we have brought to the table. They see that inconsistency and erase the line, taking what we have taught them to its logical end.
I cannot control whether Silas and Judah will inherit my physical condition; but I can control my influence on their spiritual conditions. I can set an example of faith that will reinforce theirs in moments of trial. I can set an example of endurance to bolster their ability to overcome. I can show them how a mature Christian behaves, even when people are less than accommodating. Those things I can do, if I will.
Having children is great motivation to be and do better. Because the end may be in sight and priorities have become clearer, having grandchildren should be the best motivation yet.
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers in a pure conscience, how unceasing is my remembrance of you in my supplications, night and day longing to see you, remembering your tears, that I may be filled with joy; having been reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in you; which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice; and, I am persuaded, in you also, 2 Tim 1:3-5.