Sin’s Fall-Out

by | Feb 26, 2023 | Guilt, Sin, Suffering

“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.” (Exodus 34:7b  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.

Copyright © 2023, by Martin Wiles <>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional  
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

Used with the permission of PresbyCan and author

Sin’s fallout effects are never pleasant. God reminds us that we are temples of His Spirit, to be presented as pure and holy. How do we prevent sin’s fallout effects?


Sin’s Fall-Out