Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, "Indeed, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!"
The Sins of the Father
The consequences of sin frequently affect more than just the one who is sinning. Unfortunately, children are often the victims. Some years ago a study was done at Harvard University that found six out of every ten juvenile delinquents had fathers who drank to excess, and many had mothers who did the same. Researchers also discovered that three out of four delinquents had parents who showed no interest in appropriate discipline. Four out of five had parents who took no interest in their children's friends or amusements. Many wayward children came from broken homes, and few had religious training of any kind.
This same scenario played itself out in David's life as well. It's true that David suffered humiliation and shame. But he was not the only one to bear the consequences of his behavior. Sexual sin plagued his family. His son Amnon committed incest by force with his half-sister Tamar (2 Sam. 13:14). Absalom sexually humbled his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel (16:22-23). Even Solomon, in his latter years, had his heart turned away from the Lord by his 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). It is apparent that David's sin found fertile soil in the lives of his children.
Even though our children must bear the responsibility for the sinful choices they make, our behavior as parents can strongly influence them in one direction or the other. When we justify sin in our lives, it is all the easier for those who look to us as examples to do the same.
If you are tempted to sin, remember that the consequences of your transgression can ripple down through the generations that follow. Ask yourself, Is it really worth it?
There is no such thing as private sin.