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Do generational curses exist?

My family – especially my father and I show certain character traits which my mother believe are generational curses. She insists these were handed down to the men in the family and says she knew other older men of the previous generations struggled with these same negative traits. What are generational curses? Do they exist and really affect us?

Generational curses are spiritual bondages or predispositions for sinful behaviours that are passed down from one generation to another. These are negative spiritual traits passed down from a previous generation.

Words such as hexes or curses may sound very archaic in a day and age replete with smartphones and smart TVs. However, the Bible does include evidence of curses, and proof that generational curses are in effect today.

Spiritual blessings or curses can be passed from one generation to the next.  Spiritual heredity–what you received spiritually from your ancestors–can be either positive or negative in your life. You may have had godly parents and elders who gave you a good spiritual heritage,  or you may have had unsaved parents or worse still, pretentious or superficially religious and legalistic parents who were hostile, angry, and addicted to alcohol etc and passed these on to you.

Blessing and cursing are invisible forces of spiritual power which are transmitted by words (Proverbs 18:21). You can speak positive words of blessing over someone, or negative words of curses that cause despair, discouragement, and destruction in a person’s life.

Generational curses are sinful spiritual strongholds that have controlled  the attitudes and actions of your ancestors.

The best way to identify a generational curse is to find the origin. Parents who behave a certain way may have witnessed such behaviour in their own parents. Without awareness and a prayer  and action from your part – to stop it, the cycle will likely continue. Discern whether multiple people struggle with the same problem. If people of different generations within a family behave the same way, then there may be a generational curse.

The way to identify such strongholds in the family are by noting these: Do generations of your family smoke, drink, have such addictions? Have you noticed that the same crisis or sickness such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, gynaecological issues, repeated miscarriages etc occur within your family? Do members of your family show signs of dying before a certain age, dying young, have mental illness, dying the same tragical way – such as due to accidents, drowning, fire etc Do you or any younger generation show tendency to be depressed, have gossipy, angry, rude behaviour – tendencies you imbibed from an older parent or grandparent?

In the natural world it is possible to have a propensity towards certain physical conditions – cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.–due to heredity.  The same is true in the spiritual world.  For example, if your ancestors were involved in the occult, you may have a predisposition to dabble in it also and you may be affected by it.

Chronic sickness can be a generational curse passed down from your ancestors, as well as a tendency to use addictive substances.  Children often repeat the sins of their parents.

You can initiate and pass on curses to following generations.  Through your personal sin, you can erect spiritual strongholds that will be passed on to your children and succeeding generations.

Be of good cheer – generational curses can be broken through the blood of Jesus.  Galatians 3:13 says“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 tree.”  Jesus not only redeemed you from sin when He died at Calvary, but He also redeemed you from every curse.

The good news is that You can pass on spiritual blessings.  Just as curses can be passed to succeeding generations, so can blessings.  See Deuteronomy 5:8-10 – “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 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, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

and Psalm 103:17 – But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children– with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. (Psalm 103:17-18)

How to deal with generational curses?

Acknowledge any known sin. Acknowledge your sin and take personal responsibility for any sinful practices in which you are engaged. Confess and repent of these sins  (Ezekiel 18:20).

Identify generational curses.  If you are struggling with issues passed down from your parents–and if your siblings also struggle in these areas – you most likely are living under a generational curse. Break every curse in the name of Jesus. A stronghold is an area in your life where the enemy has established control. It may be a hold he has over your speech, your attitudes, behaviour, emotions, or your finances. DO NOT DEFEND or justify your sinful nature – people need not have to tolerate your sin or your angry, unapologetic or rude behaviour.

Claim the power of the blood of Jesus and take authority over Satan in every area of your life. Pray a prayer of deliverance, binding the power of Satan and breaking any curses or generational spirits operating in your life. Here is a sample prayer:“In the name of Jesus, I confess the sins and iniquities of my ancestors and declare that these strongholds have no hold over my life.  In the name of Jesus, and by the power of His blood, I declare that every generational curse is broken over my life.  I am no longer in bondage and I declare myself and future generations freed from bondages passed down by our ancestors.”

Refuse to engage in curse-causing behaviour.  Things such as rebellion, negative emotions, witchcraft, the occult, addictive substances, and sexual sins all result in spiritual curses in your life.  Reject  such behaviour so that you do not erect spiritual strongholds and pass curses on to your descendants.

Get help. Therapy has served as a benefit to people throughout history and across the group. Today, people use counselling as an individual, as a couple, even as a family. Your words or the words of a good, wise Christian counsellor, have the ability to bring healing (James 5:16).

From a biblical perspective, generational curse may be the reason why people find difficulty changing themselves and becoming more like Jesus. Laziness, adultery, fear, anger, and pride – sinful nature can be passed down from person to person. “The Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed: The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7)

There are more Bible verses to support this.

The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation. (Numbers 14:18)

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.(Proverbs 18:21)

In those days people will no longer say, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’  Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes–his own teeth will be set on edge. (Jeremiah 31:29-30)

You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the fathers’ sins into the laps of their children after them. O great and powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty,  great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to all the ways of men; you reward everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve.  (Jeremiah 32:18-19)

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.  (Ezekiel 18:20)

However, God’s treatment of sin in the Old Testament is not identical to His treatment of sin in the New Testament. Prior to the arrival of Jesus, God treated people as a community rather than just as an individual. With the love and forgiveness that Jesus brought, punishment (if delivered) occurred on a more individual basis.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The Bible offers direction for self-improvement. We must change ourselves to reflect Christ and model Christ-like behaviour for not only, strangers, but also those closest to us, namely our families and friends. Generational curses are not erased by continuing to live with the same problems, but rather by doing something different – something that causes positive change.

Once you begin to recognise the grasp of sin in your life or that of multiple loved ones, change becomes possible. However, change begins on an individual level before affecting others.

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God – Romans 12:2

What began as a generational sin can be converted into a generational blessing – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another – Proverbs 27:17. And that change begins with us, the individual.

Ultimately, being a Christian is between you and God. God is after our hearts; He seeks to renew our minds. By making ourselves better people in the first place, we team up with God to expand His influence over not just our lives, but that of  everyone around us. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17)

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 tree (Galatians 3:13)

YOU can put an end to any curse within your family – by making it right TODAY with God and people. Jesus can help. No curse is above the Blood of Christ. And if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! (John 8:36)

We answer your questions about faith, marriage, relationships, parenting, emotional issues, financial crisis or any spiritual struggle here. Have a counselling query? Ask us here, by email [email protected]

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