But because our fathers had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed his house and carried away the people to Babylonia. (Ezra 5:12 ESV)
The Israelites had been back in Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity for about twenty years. They had returned to rebuild the temple and God’s great city, Jerusalem. As they continued their work, they were questioned by Persian officials as to the authorization of the building project. The Israelites’ response was that it was originally validated by king Cyrus (Ezra 1) and that they were exiled because of their fathers’ sins.
They were acknowledging the sins committed, not as a way to criticize, but to recognize what the cause of the captivity had been. We can learn a lot from our fathers’ sin when we aren’t afraid to admit or confess that sin.
However, if there is not an admission of previous sins, we cannot learn from them, and we will often repeat them. Are we afraid to admit past generations’ sins because they bare a striking resemblance to our own? If we humbly admit that we aren’t perfect and understand those who came before us weren’t, we can learn from their mistakes.
Don’t be afraid to admit your shortcomings to the younger generation.