“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:5-6 ( & Deut 5:9-10)
Passing down sins through the generations; i.e., curses, is as common as breathing. Once particular sins become a part of a family line, it is hard to break that generational curse. Curses are referenced almost 100 times in the Bible.
When my daughter was five years old, her father and I divorced. Because of this sin, and sins surrounding the divorce (anger, bitterness, etc. in our lives as well in the lives of our extended families), my daughter would now never know what it would be like to be raised in a home with both parents working side by side in a loving relationship. This choice was a turning point for not only our lives, but our daughter as well, and could also be for her daughter, and potentially, her grand-daughter. She suffered pain right alongside of us, and there will always be a sense of brokenness that will continue for her entire life. When, and if, my daughter decides to marry, will she choose to stick it out through her marriage or will she continue to pass down this generational curse to her children? Once started, a curse is hard to break because it is difficult to unlearn what we’ve been taught or experienced.
- “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin.” 1 Kings 22:52
We tend to follow those who we look up to, whether it is good or bad. Parent influences are stronger than we think, and even when children intentionally try to not be like their parents, they fall into many of the same traits, characteristics, paths, and sins.
My grandpa was a drinker. My dad became a drinker in his early youth, progressing through life, more engulfed in alcohol to the point where I remember my dad being intoxicated much of my teenage life, and being involved in several vehicle accidents. His actions spilled over into my brother when he, also, started drinking in his early teenage years progressing to having his license revoked because of an accident and also spending time in jail. The generational curse of alcohol addiction is a spiraling path that has found its way into many families, hurting so many in its destruction. Fortunately, in our case, this curse was broken with both my dad and brother being freed from its grip.
- “He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been.” 1 Kings 15:3
In order to break generational curses in our families, whatever they may be, from alcohol addiction, to negativity, from abuse, to work-a-holism, we must cry out to the Lord for His mercy to save us from our destruction, and to save our children and grandchildren from the destruction that we caused.
- “Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.” Psalm 79:8
God will answer our cries for release as we seek Him in humble obedience.
- “Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”” Zechariah 8:13
There is hope in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as He has become the brearer of all our curses, through the mercy and grace of God the Father.
- “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” Galations 3:13
- “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” 1 John 2:1
Though we will continue to stumble from time to time and not all curses will be entirely broken in our lives, one day, all curses will be broken in finality. This will be a day of celebration and rejoicing like none other.
- “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.” Revelation 22:3
What are you passing down to your children and grandchildren?