Generational Curses

Tue, Nov 17, 2009

Adversity, Q&A, Written Articles

Q & A


Dr. Lewis Gregory


Q. Can things that happened to our ancestors have a bearing on our lives today?  I’ve heard people refer to such things as a “generational curse.”  Is that correct?  What are generational curses?  How do they affect us, and what can we do about it?


A. When people struggle with physical, mental, emotional abnormalities and/or habitual problems similar to their parents, grandparents or other ancestors, it may mean that they are under a generational curse.  Even after we become Christians, we are not automatically exempt from generational curses. It is important to note that God desires to invoke His blessings upon us as Christians.  He wants us to experience our inheritance as new creations in Christ.  However, if we do not know who we are in Christ, or are not fully submitted to Him and neglect to live according to His Word, then we will inevitably experience curses instead. 

What are curses?  Curses are the natural consequences of going our own way rather than God’s way.  The Bible speaks of generational curses in Exodus 34:7b:  “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” This indicates that any type of human abnormality could be the result of a generational curse.  It does not mean that it always is, but it is certainly possible.  Iniquity is a deviation from the biblical norm for God’s creation.  Iniquity is a reference to deviant behavior descriptive of a sinful lifestyle.  Iniquity is a deviation from God’s righteous standard of life to an alternate lifestyle, which God calls evil.  God warns that the sinful practices of one generation can be perpetuated by subsequent generations.  But the perpetuation of generational problems is not limited just to sinful behavior. It could also be physical, mental or emotional problems; something which is destructive or debilitating to the person, such as obsessive fear, anxiety or negative thoughts.  These kind of maladies resulting from generational curses do not go away, even with medical or psychological treatment.  And even if the symptoms do subside, they generally will return in one form or another.  So, until the destructive cycle is broken, a generational curse remains in effect.

Curses and blessings are described in Deuteronomy chapters 27-30.  Both curses and blessings have consequences.  Curses produce death in us, while blessings result in life.  It is clearly a case of reaping what you sow.  When you respond in faithful obedience to God you will reap life, but if not, death is the outcome.  Not physical death, but the death that occurs when the life of Christ is not freely flowing through you, i.e. dead works void of the life of God.

God desires for us to know His life.  That is why He sent Christ in order that we might have life, His abundant life.  But if we have been under a generational curse then that is not possible because the Spirit is being quenched.  Therefore, we need to realize that we have a problem and look to Him for the solution.  God reaches out to us through His goodness to make us aware of our problem, which is a generational curse that is stronger than we are.  God’s preference is that through His goodness, He might lead us to repentance.  However, He loves us and wants the best for us.  So, if we don’t repent He will bring His severity upon us to help us realize that we need to repent (Romans 2:4; 11:22).  Repent entails changing our thinking. We have had it all wrong. We have been going the wrong way doing our own thing.  God’s intention is for us to depart from that which is destroying our lives and defiling His Holy temple (II Corinthians 6:17-7:1).  We truly have a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for His children.  However, He will spare us no pain or adversity, if necessary, to bring it about.  And left to our own devices that is exactly what we will experience.  This, too, is part of God’s faithfulness.  Once you really understand this, you can say with King David, Your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).

Keep in mind that God desires to invoke His blessings upon us. However, if we do not live under His authority in accordance with His word, then we will inevitably experience curses instead (the death consequences of neglecting His life). 

One result of generational curses might be a sinful lifestyle characterized by destructive habits.  Sometimes curses become so entrenched in people’s lives that sinful habits are passed on for several generations.  Such sinful habits are much more than just incorrect behavior patterns.  That is why merely attempting to modify a person’s behavior cannot possibly produce a lasting solution.  Furthermore, addictive/compulsive behavior is far more than just a physical addiction.  That in itself is part of the problem. Until the person realizes that there is more to the problem than just a physical addiction, the problem will persist.  Sinful habits have a spiritual root.  People involved in sinful habits eventually reach a point where they have little, if any, real control over them.  They find themselves driven, compelled and literally consumed by these sinful habits.

What is happening to these people?  What is driving them to engage in such undesirable behavior?  When a person finds himself consumed with a sinful habit that he cannot break, then that person is in bondage.  God describes such bondage as a stronghold (II Corinthians 10:4). Strongholds develop when a person repeatedly gives place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27) by engaging in the same sinful practice. Each time a person repeats the same sin, the demonic hold over that area of his life gets stronger, until it finally develops into a stronghold.

As detrimental as strongholds can be to the individual, it does not always stop there.  One of the long-term effects of such demonic strongholds is they are sometimes passed down to one’s ancestors. Hence the name generational curses. This becomes evident when children, and/or grandchildren develop the same or similar problems or sinful practices.  For instance, the alcoholic father whose addictive/compulsive behavior is repeated in his son.  However, since the son despises alcohol he becomes a workaholic instead.  Both have the same addictive/compulsive behavior problems, just in a different form.  This wretched cycle must cease!

But is it really possible for the cycle to be broken?  After counseling, one man gave this glorious testimony attesting that it can.  “Praise God the chain is broken!  I am truly free and, by the grace of God, these generational habits of sin have ended with me.”  Yes, sinful habits that have developed into demonic strongholds can be broken.  But only by the power of God!  All things are possible with God.  He’s the Almighty!

The good news is that through Christ’s death on the cross, God solved the problem of generational curses forever.  This is the greatest expression of God’s love and grace toward mankind.  When Christ died on the cross, He took our place.  Since every one of us was cursed by sin and death, Christ became a curse for us.  “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree” (Gal. 3:13).  Christ’s death on the cross broke the curse.  Satan has been defeated!

Jesus Christ came to liberate the captives.  “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).  Christ is the only one who can make us free from our bondage to sin and its destructive consequences. Through the cross, Jesus Christ has made us free indeed!  Christ has done far more than just set us free, He has made us free. Therefore, upon receiving Christ, we are born free . . . free in union with Christ!  Thus the Apostle admonishes us to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).  We were made free in order that we might live free.

What is necessary to experience this freedom?  You must first be in Christ.  There is no freedom apart from Christ.  But if upon receiving Christ, you do not realize your true freedom in union with Christ and continue to live from the outer man of your flesh, then you will still be defeated.  Therefore, you must recognize that you have been living a lie; your life has been entangled in a yoke of bondage.  First renounce the lie that you are a slave of the devil.  Then affirm the truth that you are free in Christ!  However, in order to walk in that freedom, you must first deal with the destructive effects of that lie.  You can do this by simply acknowledging any known sins among your ancestors that are present in your life.  Confess the specific sins which you have committed that resulted from your particular generational curse.  Also confess any habitual sins that have occurred in your life, which gave place to the devil.  Then reject any sinful practices in the name of Jesus (Daniel 9:3-19).  Next, reject any evil destructive things that have happen to you in Jesus’ name.

You must know who you are in Christ so that you can remain steadfast and live victorious over sin and adversity.  So who are you?  Once you receive Christ, you are united with Christ in a one spirit union (1 Corinthians 6:17).  As a result you are a new creation in union with Christ.  And you are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10).  Which means you are the best that you can be because of your union with Christ!  Since you are in union with Christ, God has given you the keys to the Kingdom of God.  These keys are symbolic of your authority in Christ.  When you exercise this God-given authority wisely, then the gates of hell (the forces of evil) shall not prevail against you.  Which means that through Christ you can exercise authority over Satan, and bind the strong man (Satan and his demons) from you and/or your children (Matthew 12:29).

How do you exercise this authority in binding the strong man?  Ask the Lord to show you what the strongholds are.  Then call the evil spirits by name (spirit of fear, spirit of infirmity, etc.) and command them to leave you and/or your children and never return again.  Pray that Satan’s blinders would be removed and that the light of the gospel would shine upon your hearts. 

Now that you are no longer under Satan’s control you can yield yourself to the Lord’s control.  Give yourself, your home, your possessions, and your children to the Lord.  Ask the Holy Spirit to fill every area of your life: taking complete control of your spirit, soul (mind, will, and emotions), and body.

When you submit to God in such a manner, then the devil must flee from you.  “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).  Once you are completely submitted to the Lord’s authority that leaves no place for the devil.  When you are under the Lord’s authority the devil is under your feet even as he is under the Lord’s feet.  Praise God, when the Son makes you free, you are free indeed!  Now you are free to be yourself, the beautiful new creation that God has made you in union with Christ!

Also, please read my article on DEALING WITH THE DEMONIC for a further explanation of demonic influence.

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