Sin's Fallout

Saturday, February 25, 2023
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Exodus 34:7b – I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected — even children in the third and fourth generations. (NLT)

Sin's fallout effects are never pleasant.

My wife and I pass a particular church's parking lot each Sunday on the way to our church. We were once affiliated with this church. Then, the parking lot was full, and so were most of the seats inside. The music was excellent, and so was the preaching. New people joined regularly, and excitement filled the air.

But for a time, things differed. The auditorium became only half-filled, and there was an air of despondency. It was not because of anything that the current members had done but because of sin's fallout. A leader in the church — and a few members — had chosen to delve into a sinful lifestyle, and the entire church felt the impact.

I once thought that today's verse was confusing — even unfair. Why should children and their children suffer for something that they didn't do? Then, I discovered a better interpretation. God isn't saying that they are responsible for their relatives' sins, but that they will feel the fallout from them.

Though we're responsible to God for our sins, they are rarely private in that they affect only us. Thousands of children suffer physical and emotional ailments because their moms chose to use dangerous substances while they were pregnant or because their parents decided to criticize them with emotionally damaging messages. Numerous spouses have irreparably ruined credit records due to poor decisions by an ex-spouse. Many reputations suffer when the person had no control over a bad situation.

Since we're involved with others in some fashion, our closest associates will feel the effects of our decisions. Choosing to sin is never just about us. Not only will our sinful choices take us where we don't want to go — even though we think we might — we'll carry others with us who don't want to go but are unwillingly carried along by association. We'll then keep them — and ourselves — longer than any of us want to stay. And the cost might be astronomical.

While confessing sin is crucial, it rarely removes the consequences of our decisions. Consequences are God's reminders. Better yet is our commitment to live a pure life and walk in the power of the new nature that God has given us. When we do this, we'll experience less of sin's fallout effect — and so will others close to us.

What can we do to prevent sin's fallout effect in our lives?

Prayer: Father, remind us that our bodies are temples of Your Spirit and that we are to present them as pure and holy sacrifices to You. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    That’s a really good one! Thank you, Martin.

    Thanks, Martin for this reminder. Good timing for me. Bless you both,
    (BC Canada)

    Thank you for this clarification and insight! It was most appreciated! May God Bless you for your work in this!

    The dangers of sin are real and dare to mingle on thin ice. And yet some very faithful folks spin the wheel… Blessings Martin!

    So true, Martin. I’ve seen similar consequences in my church and acquaintances. We must be prayerful for our leaders as well as ourselves and families.

    Thank you, Martin, for another of your very special writings. Your closing prayer is most meaningful advice and words to be repeated. Blessings for your thoughtful writings.

    Thank you, Martin for the explanation of the sins of the father etc.
    It sure makes more sense now.
    Take care and God bless.

    Thanks Martin. This gives me a new understanding of that particular Bible verse. It did bother and confuse me somewhat, thanks again for your explanation. Do take care and blessings to you and your family.

    Merci Martin for a ‘Wisdom’ filled devotional. The fallout analogy is apt. Being prudent about long-term effects of decisions becomes a gift to the next generation. A quote from Russell Lowell: …the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and the light.

    Good morning Martin,
    Thank you for explaining that verses in Exodus, I too thought how unfair.
    If people would only realize actions effect so many.
    I am still learning, and thankful for the Word and His promises.
    God bless.

    Dear Martin,
    A great message that I know that I have pondered and wondered about. A really good way of looking at what God is saying. We never really know how some of our actions affect others, either positively or negatively, so it is good to have the help of the Holy Spirit to make wise decisions.
    Thanks for always being willing to share and help us to get new perspectives. Blessings.

    Dear Martin, very timely message for this day when churches seem to be failing. As you mentioned parking lots are empty along with the pews. We all need to seek the Holy Spirit to determine if we in any way have caused this or can help this. I always appreciate your thoughts and style of writing. Don’t ever stop revealing God’s truth at the prompting of the Holy Spirt. We on our own cannot do anything, so let us all seek the One who can change things.

    Good morning, Martin.
    Thank you for this message. I have always felt the same about this passage of scripture as you once did.
    I really appreciate your explanation, and that makes complete sense. Of course, as you say, sins don’t remain private. They do have a ripple effect.
    Much appreciated.
    (QC, CANADA)

    Oh, my, Martin. So true. I’ve seen this over and over again!

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