This morning I was reading Deuteronomy 5. Some of the verses popped out at me as I read them. Check it out.
You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Me and obey My commands.
We often talk about reaching parents. We know if we can reach the parents, then there is a high probability that their children will be reached as well. As this verse says…
…the entire family is affected.
No one has more influence in a child’s life than his or her parents. You could say “as it goes with the parents, so it will go with their children.”
If you want to reach children and see them follow Jesus for a lifetime, then you must reach and influence their parents. You influence children by influencing their parents.
These verses even say if parents will love God and follow His commands, that He will pour down His love upon them and their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great, great grandchildren and beyond.
When you reach children you change a life. When you reach parents, you change an entire family.
I am an example of this. Our family knew nothing about God. My great, great grandfather was a criminal. One day he got into a fight with another man who was a criminal. My great, great grandfather ended up murdering the man by stabbing him. He was convicted of the crime and was sent to prison. He was given a life sentence with no parole.
The entire family was affected. My grandfather followed in his footsteps and became the manager at a local bar. He was a violent man and had his nose broken five times in bar fights. Christmas time usually turned into a drunken brawl. My grandfather would get drunk and would fight his family members. Still our family knew nothing about Jesus and had yet to experience His love and forgiveness.
That all changed one day when a neighbor saw how messed up our family was. He came to our house and knocked on the door. He told my grandmother and father how Christ had changed his life. We said “no” at first and told him we wanted nothing to do with God. But the neighbor wouldn’t give up. He kept coming and inviting us to church. Finally my grandmother told him if he would come by on Sunday and pick us up, we would go to church with them.
My dad and grandmother stepped into a church for the very first time. They found out there was a better life. They entered a relationship with Jesus. Fast forward. My dad is now 16. He was called to preach and is pursuing that call. When it was announced that he would preach at our church, my grandfather, the drunkard, said he would come and hear his son preach.