How to Break Generational Curses and Find Freedom for Your Family
- Aaron D'Anthony Brown Contributing Author
- 2020 31 Dec
Words such as hexes or curses sound very archaic in a day and age replete with smartphones and smart TVs. A technology-centered world seemingly operates as an antithesis to other frames of thought that are non-scientific. That includes hexes, curses, and also faith. However, the Bible does include evidence of curses, and proof that generational curses are in effect today. Though the curses in the Bible are different from the mainstream understanding of curses today.
“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)
The Bible’s example of a curse is not identical to the script of such horror films as Hereditary, where one person places a curse on another - purposely or accidentally. However, this verse shows that the actions of someone did affect their offspring. The curse was delivered by God, not the person.
This begs the question, what is a generational curse? We can conclude that the curse was punishment for sin. Thus, a generational curse is punishment for sin that continues through the generations. 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 (John 9:1-3).
Does this mean that generational curses no longer exist? In his video “5 Reasons Why People Don’t Change” Dr. A. R. Bernard explains from a biblical perspective why people find difficulty changing themselves and becoming more like Jesus. As he offers his reasons including laziness, fear, and pride, Bernard also posits the idea that sin is passed down from person to person.
He notes that Adam and Eve committed the “original sin” when they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From their first sin created “conditions” that all mankind would have to live by for all generations. The conditions included: humanity is now forced to labor, women encounter labor pains from pregnancy, and all humankind will return to dust (Genesis 3:14-19).
Despite the unfortunate separation from God leading to a permanent life outside of the garden, there is redemption that God offers through Jesus. Thus, while there is a generational curse, there is also a generational blessing.
“So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is justification leading to life for everyone.” (Romans 5:18)
Understanding generational curses from this biblical perspective will help us to understand how our sin creates conditions for people in our lives, and how their sin creates conditions for us.
How Do I Know If Something Is a Generational Curse?
There is now commonplace knowledge that has scientific origin, which says people who grew up in certain conditions are likely to create these conditions in their own homes later. For example, children in abusive households are more likely to become abusive. Those with parents who abused alcohol are more likely to abuse alcohol. The same frame of thought applies to sexual immorality, greed, or any other sin.
Another thought to consider is whether the word curse is the appropriate term. Whether denoted as an environmental or genetic factor, our parents, and ancestors influence our lives. We in turn affect others also. To use the word curse is merely a matter of semantics, but for the purposes of this article, we will reference the concept as a curse.
The best way to identify a generational curse is to find the origin. Parents who behave a certain way may have witnessed such behaviors in their own parents. Without awareness, the cycle will likely continue. Another important detail when pinpointing a generational curse is to 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 last detail to consider is whether or not children are indirectly or directly being taught the behavior. Science reveals that children may struggle genetically from issues their parents faced. That is unavoidable, but if certain lessons are being directly taught to children, then this can be altered. Family sins and conditions affect the generations because of the long term effects. With knowledge of what issues affect any particular family, actions can be taken to mitigate the effects of sin and replace bad behavior with righteous behavior.
How Are Generational Curses Broken?
Naturally, children inherit qualities from their parents, whether spiritual, emotional, or physical. This is natural human biology by God’s design. While sin is also passed down, the effects do not have to be permanent. Christ makes change possible.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” (James 5:16)
God seeks to hear from us and heal us from all the troubles we encounter in life. Though He allows suffering for our reprovement, God is always willing and present to help us through our afflictions, including our generational problems. The Bible shows that prayer works and is vital for the Christian lifestyle.
Words, when used wisely, have the ability to bring healing (James 5:16). Therapy has served as a benefit to people throughout history and across the group. Today, people use counseling as an individual, as a couple, even as a family.
“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. When we change ourselves to reflect Christ, we can begin to model Christ-like behavior for strangers, but also those closest to us, namely our families. Generational curses are not erased by continuing the same problems, but rather by doing something different that causes positive change.
Finding Freedom for Your Family from Generational Sin
“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)
Once you begin to recognize 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. This poem illustrates such an idea.
God is after our hearts and seeks to renew our minds. By making ourselves better people, we help God expand His influence over not just our lives, but all those around us. What began as a generation sin can be converted into a generational blessing (Proverbs 27:17). And that change begins with us, the individual
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Boonyachoat
Aaron D'Anthony Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo. Check out his short story “Serenity.”