The subject of generational curses is made quite much of in the African church. As many people seek to know the reason behind their suffering, much blame is thrown to generational curses. But what is a generational curse? A generational curse can be defined as a punishment for sin that continues from one generation to another. In the Bible, the concept of generational curses comes up in Exodus 34:7, which talks of the consequences of a father’s sins being passed down to his children as they live in similar sins. So often, many of us may feel that we are still bound by the same sins our fathers or ancestors practised, or we could be facing the consequences of those sins they committed. So how do we break these generational curses? Certain ministers are known to instruct afflicted members of their churches to bring a sacrifice or offering to them to break the curse. The offerings are apparently meant to appease God. Some pastors will even go to the extent of slaughtering live animals to reduce the suffering of the afflicted individuals.
People have also come up with schools that teach exclusively on deliverance from generational curses and other predicaments. One student mentioned that some of these schools teach that Christ’s death did not address generational curses. Instead, they emphasize that one must give a costly sacrifice to a powerful preacher able to handle the situation. However, 1 Peter 3:18 reminds us that Christ died for our sins, once for all. How then do we have a healthy view of generational curses?
The Bible on Generational Sins
The Bible tells us that our God is a jealous God, and he visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate him (Exodus 20:5-6). As a result, many end up experiencing generational consequences of their fathers’ sins. Other scriptures that mention the subject include Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9, Exodus 34:6-7 and Leviticus 26:39-42. Reading these scriptures without caution can leave one thinking that God is being unjust in punishing those who have not sinned with the sins of their fathers. However, we must read the entire context of scripture to see what God is really saying. For example, consider Ezekiel 18:4, which reads, “The soul who sins shall die.” God was implying that no one will be punished for their parent’s sins. However, those who continue in the same sinful patterns of their parents will face their due punishment.
Generational sins separate us from God and his blessings (Isaiah 59:1-2). The only valid means of eradicating generational curses and sin is through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross (Romans 5:12-21). We receive freedom from all generational enslavement through Christ Jesus (John 8:31-36, 2 Corinthians 5:17). One cannot be born of God and continue belonging with Satan (1 John 3:9, 1 Corinthians 10:13). Each person is responsible for the choice they make–either God’s blessing or curse (Deuteronomy 30:11-15). One receives God’s curse not because of skeletons in their family’s closet but because of their failure to embrace the gift of God’s forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:12, 1 John 1:9, Psalm 103:12).
The Promises of God
God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:1-2). We, as Christians, are among the descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:29) and are hence heirs according to promise. Among the promises Christ made to his followers was the believers’ ability to win their battles against the dark kingdom (Mark 16:17-18). As Christians, we have been given power and authority, and therefore any teachings that depict us as slaves are plain unbiblical (Luke 9:1; Luke 10:19). Generational curses are nowhere above the power of Christ. Christ suffered for our freedom, and he was cursed on our behalf (Galatians 3:13-14). We need to pray and live in light of our true identity as God’s children (Matthew 7:11).
Our Parents and Us
God asked Gideon to destroy the Baal altars his father worshipped and instead erect an altar for God (Judges 6:25-29). Gideon obeyed. Like him, God requires us to be faithful and to honour him with our lives even though our parents may not have offered the best examples. You cannot, for example, be a drunkard while in Christ, just because your father was one. God punishes everyone for their sins, and none will suffer for another (Ezekiel 18:20). God removed curses on Israelites, allowing them to experience salvation every time they repented and turned from their idolatrous ways (Judges 3:9,15; 1 Samuel 12:10-11).
Hope in Christ
Your answer is found in salvation through Jesus Christ for all who are anxious about generational curses. A child of God cannot still be under God’s curse (Romans 8:1). The cure for all generational curses is repentance from sin, faith in Christ, and a life consecrated to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2). He alone is our hope.
Since the blood of Christ dealt effectively with the affliction of ages, we have every reason to trust that no generational curse can stand against us. Be encouraged, brethren. He who is in us is greater (1 John 4:4).