You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you. Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers' sins they will waste away. (leviticus 26:38-39)
'The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.' (numbers 14:18)
yes, i am aware that there are other passages--not even necessarily in the new testament--that contradict these statements. but that's a whole other discussion altogether.
my point is that taking things literally can really allow you to miss the point.
if you're just reading into the history that the author(s) is describing at the time, cool.
on the other hand, if you look at this allegorically/gnostically, i think that these passages reveal a lot about how parents need to be very careful not to live through their children.
(oh...if you're one of those folks who thinks i can't talk about these kinds of things 'cause i don't have babies, then feel free to stop reading right...about...now. i won't hold it against you.)
because a lot of us insist on raising our kids "just like we were raised"--without weeding out the dysfunctional elements--what some of us are doing isn't working.
as a community, we cannot afford to keep turning out broken men. we’re causing so much harm in the name of fucked up expecations, role reversals, and skewed visions. we must become aware enough to realize that this does not always equal love.
i think that’s what that bible verse really means. it’s not about some arbitrary moral code. it’s about the fact that if you don’t handle your shit, you’ll set it on the shoulders of your babies. and that will, in turn, cause more problems down the line. "perishing among the nations", if you will.
this is what happens to a dream deferred, langston.
a lot of folks are completely cynical about the bible, and understandably so. it's been held up as a bastion of truth when what we see as "scripture" today is horribly forged, mangled, and mistranslated. it has been ruthlessly wielded as a weapon to destroy the spirits and communities of people around the planet.
but there are nuggets of gold up in there. you just have to know how to shine the light so you can see 'em.