“What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:

“‘The parents eat sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel.

Ezekiel 18:2-3

When the prophet Ezekiel uttered these words, he and his people were in Babylonian exile. The people believed they were suffering for the sins of the former generation. But what is interesting is that they were comfortable blaming their present predicament on their predecessors rather than taking responsibility for their current condition.

According to Ezekiel 18, God is just and punishes us according to our actions and does not hold us accountable for the actions of others. Therefore, the exiles cannot blame their circumstances on their predecessors. They must take responsibility for their actions. That is a bitter pill to swallow after wallowing in self-pity for years.

The phrase generational curse comes to mind. How often do we blame our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents for how our lives turned out? Ezekiel 18 teaches us that we are judged according to our works, not the failures of those who came before us. We can break the negative cycles of the past by renewing our hearts and minds.

As a counselor, I have noticed two types of people: those who want to change their circumstances and those who wish to complain and not do the hard work to change. It is easy to blame others rather than hold ourselves accountable. But this text teaches us we have a choice: continue to play the blame-game or pick up our mats and walk away from excuses.

The choice is yours. Will you continue eating sour grapes and blaming others, or renew your heart and mind and walk into a better future? I suggest you walk it out.