Believe it or not, I’m still answering questions left over from our ‘Hot Seat’ Sunday back in August. Today’s question is “Why do some people believe in ‘generational curses’?
Good question. My simple answer is “because they’re real”. Let me explain:
- Starting with Exodus 20:5, God said that He would “lay the sins of the parents upon the children” and that the entire family would be affected, for 3 or 4 generations. Other translations of that verse indicate that He would “visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children”. Iniquity is the proclivity or inclination toward wickedness; it literally means “crookedness”. In other words, just as our height, weight, hair color, complexion, etc. tend to run in families, so an inclination toward certain types of sin can be passed on from generation to generation.
- This is particularly true of certain kinds of addictive behavior – such as alcoholism, for instance. We’ve all known families where certain sins ‘show up’ in succeeding generations – think of how often children who witnessed domestic abuse in their home grow up to be abusive adults.
- Exodus 34:7 and Numbers 14:18 and Deuteronomy 5:9 repeat this same warning about the sins of the parents being passed on to the children – so this is not an isolated, one-time-only obscure verse of Scripture. It is entirely possible for the tendency toward certain sins to be passed on generationally!
- Ezekiel 18:20 also makes it clear that children are NOT punished for the sins of their parents – each of us is responsible for our own choices. The generational curse, even in Old Testament times, was only predictive – because of human tendencies – but not inevitable, because of our free will to choose our own behavior.
However, let me just as quickly add that we are no longer under the curse of the Old Testament! Galatians 3:13-14 make it quite clear that Jesus took our curse upon Himself at the Cross and He defeated the Curse of sin for us!
In other words, no matter what sins are in your family’s history, the blood of Jesus has power over them all. If you suspect that certain tendencies toward sin or addictive behavior have been passed on to you or your children, as a child of God you can renounce those sins and appropriate the shed blood of Christ for your family. What was handed down, even for generations, can STOP with you!
I hope this was helpful, even though a thorough explanation would require more detailed teaching than this post would allow. Would you care to add your thoughts, or even ask a question of your own? If so, leave a comment below-