When a child is raised to be violent, who is responsible, the parent or the child?


I recently stumbled upon your web site and enjoy it very much. I have a question of my own though that hasn't been answered fully for quite some time now.

There are many children who are brought up into violent families such that they learn to imitate their parents and as adults follow a path of wrongdoing because that's all they know. Are the children to blame? How does God relate to these people?


Your question isn't an accurate one. Yes, there are children who grow up imitating their parents, but there are children who don't as well. I have known people who had parents who were drunkards but as they grew up they were so disgusted by what they saw that they never touched liquor in their life. Quite a few years ago, there was a man who was sending bombs in packages to various scientists. He got the nickname the "Unabomber." He was an incredibly wicked man. His own brother, who was a God-fearing man, figured out that his brother was the one and turned him in. How did the same set of parents raise both a God-fearing man and a mass murderer?

Your question assumes that the environment completely locks in a person's behavior. But human beings are far more complex than that. We each have free-will. We might start off in different places, but we all have minds and can make choices on our own. The Bible even speaks of this:

"Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.

But if a man is just and does what is lawful and right; if he has not eaten on the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, nor defiled his neighbor's wife, nor approached a woman during her impurity; if he has not oppressed anyone, but has restored to the debtor his pledge; has robbed no one by violence, but has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing; if he has not exacted usury nor taken any increase, but has withdrawn his hand from iniquity and executed true judgment between man and man; if he has walked in My statutes and kept My judgments faithfully - he is just; he shall surely live!" says the Lord GOD.

If he begets a son who is a robber or a shedder of blood, who does any of these things and does none of those duties, but has eaten on the mountains or defiled his neighbor's wife; if he has oppressed the poor and needy, robbed by violence, not restored the pledge, lifted his eyes to the idols, or committed abomination; if he has exacted usury or taken increase - shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, He shall surely die; His blood shall be upon him.

If, however, he begets a son Who sees all the sins which his father has done, And considers but does not do likewise; Who has not eaten on the mountains, Nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, Nor defiled his neighbor's wife; Has not oppressed anyone, Nor withheld a pledge, Nor robbed by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing; Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor And not received usury or increase, But has executed My judgments And walked in My statutes-He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live!

As for his father, Because he cruelly oppressed, Robbed his brother by violence, And did what is not good among his people, Behold, he shall die for his iniquity. Yet you say, 'Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?' Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:4-20).

In other words, God holds individuals responsible for what they choose to do. Neither righteousness or wickedness is inherited. We do learn from other people, but we also have to choice of continuing what we have learned or changing our behavior. No one has to sin.

A parent who raises his children to enjoy violence will face God for his wicked teaching. The child who is now old enough to decide for himself will be responsible for his choice of following his parent teaching or not.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email