I’m to Blame

“What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’” (Ezekiel 18:2).

People have not changed much. Just like Israel of old, we want to blame someone or something else for our actions. “I know my life is not what it ought to be but you ought to live with my wife (husband), then you would understand why I am the way I am.” In other words, my situation does not provide the opportunity to do what is right. It is so easy to blame our failings on external circumstances.

Then we get in the habit of blaming God. “I am just human. I know it is not right but what I am doing is acting compatible with my nature. That is just the way I am and that is just the way I act.”

What Ezekiel tries to get Israel–and us–to see is that when I do wrong, it’s my fault. As long as we blame our problems on somebody or something else we’ll never make the correction needed. Ezekiel plainly says, “Behold all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul that sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4).

The Lord clearly says we do not suffer because of the sins of our fathers, but because of our own sins. Yes, there are consequences that come from the sins of others, but that’s not the point here. It is the wickedness of the wicked that he will bear and the righteousness of the righteous that will testify for him (Ezekiel 18:20). We are not sinners because of what our fathers did, but because of what we have done.

Ezekiel illustrates that with three generations of men. First, there is the man who does good and is commended (Ezekiel 18: 5-9). This man’s son who does evil and is condemned (Ezekiel 18: 10-13). Yes, a good man can have an evil son. Then there’s the grandson, who sees what his father did and is praised for choosing to do right (Ezekiel 18:14-18). Yes, an evil man can have a good son. No, it’s not somebody else’s fault. I am to blame.

But there is hope. The man who does what is wrong can change and the evaluation will change (Ezekiel 18: 21-23). By contrast, even those who do what is right can change and their evaluation will also change (Ezekiel 18: 24).

God is more than fair. He has no pleasure in the death of one who dies (Ezekiel 18: 31). He offers man forgiveness, and will create in him a new heart, but that man must repent (Ezekiel 18:30-31).

So Ezekiel says that if your teeth are set on edge it’s not because of your father who ate sour grapes but because you ate sour grapes. Stop eating sour grapes, repent, and get a new heart and new spirit.

When I say that I am in this place because of them eating sour grapes I am saying God is not fair. Yet I’m the one who ate. My teeth are set on edge because I have been in the sour grapes.

Do the consequences of another’s sin touch us, righteous or unrighteous? Yes. But I am responsible for my response to what happens to me.