How can good people have bad children?
It is a paradox I do not understand.
I’ve known parents who were good, hard-working people, devoted to the Lord and wonderful disciples of Jesus. Yet their children live far from the Lord, seeming to do all in their power to negate the good influence of their parents. You can blame their rebellion on a failure of the parents to teach them the importance of being faithful, or you can say that the parents were so busy being faithful that they didn’t give their children the time they needed. You can think the parents hypocrites – that their kids saw through their duplicity and rejected openly what their parents had rejected secretly. You can blame it on the influence of the world.
Perhaps, in some cases, these reasons will hold up, but none of them will stand before the Lord. “Every tub sits on its own bottom,” my mother used to say. She meant, you are responsible for you.
Manasseh was one of those bad kids. His father was a champion of faithfulness and a leader in the Lord’s way. But his boy was just rotten.
Chronicles, however, gives us insight that Kings does not. Chronicles tells us Manasseh spent some time in jail (imprisoned in Babylon). There, perhaps his upbringing and memories of his father came to mind, and Manasseh, like the prodigal son in Jesus’ story, came to his senses and repented. He changed his life, and the Lord blessed him.
Unfortunately however, his reputation was never fully expunged. His son, Amon, chose to live as wickedly as his father had at first, and the writer of Kings remembers only the bad things. The writer of Chronicles wants his readers to know, however, that even the most wicked lives can change, if one is willing to seek the favor of the Lord, humble himself, and repent. The world may always remember the bad, but God will never forget the action of a penitent heart.