Generational curses are so huge today such that every problem, struggle or sin is blamed on your ancestors in the past generations. Hence the belief that you will behave like the person you are named after, or that certain problems or sins run in the family are quite prevalent. People fear to be cursed! Walitipwa they would say. We are so steeped into superstition as Zambians so much so that, such a teaching finds fertile soil to breed in.
What is a generational curse?
Those who are “experts” in generational curses define it as “a defilement that was passed down from one generation to another” another one says “a generational sin or curse is the natural consequence of ingrained behavioral patterns passed down from one generation to another” In other words those under generational curses are born destined to commit certain sins because there are demons that are passed on from their ancestors.
Now it is true that they are biological conditions which are hereditary and will run in the family, but it is not the same as generational curses, from what is taught generational curses have to do with behavior and the state of one’s life. And because people are bound or under a spell that runs in the family, there is need for DELIVERANCE! The chains need to be broke, hence the rise of deliverance services among our charismatic brethren, as they summon on higher powers to break the chains that were cast by ancestral spirits in the past.
This teaching has become popular because people do not want to take responsibility for their sins, but would rather blame others. After all popular psychological theories teach us that we are not blame for our actions or behavior, it is the environment or family we were born in. Furthermore the idea of a quick sensational solution is quite appealing to our quick fix mindset.
Passages that deal with generational curses
Exodus 20:5-6 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments
Exodus 34:6-7 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."
Numbers 14:17-18 And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 'The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation' And Deuteronomy 5:9- 10 which is a repeat of Exodus 20. What do we learn from what the verses say?
The first thing that jumps out is that a generational curse is God’s judgment on those who reject him and do not obey him. He is a jealous God who visits the iniquity of fathers to the fourth generation. It is therefore the consequences of sin that will affect the descendants and not that they will also continue with the same actions. I.E. the people who were taken into captivity were facing the consequences of their forefathers.
The second is that the Lord is merciful and slow to anger that he blesses to a thousand generation! Whereas he visits sin to a fourth generation his mercy is to a thousand generation. The point of the passages is to actually teach God grace and mercy.
There is nowhere in the bible were it says the devil or demons put curses on people that bind their descendants for generations to come. In fact the devil only does what the Lord allows him to do. (Job and Peter are a case in point)
Furthermore if a generational curse is God’s judgment on people, who has power to undo what the Lord, has done? If the Lord places a curse or judgment on an individual, which man of God can honestly rescue such a one from the hands of the all-powerful God?
What are the problems with this teaching?
It attacks the power and sufficiency of Christ’s work and death on the cross. Christ paid for all our sins; we therefore do not need any deliverance from some fellow sinner. Surely what can be more powerful than the work of God’s son? (Hebrews 10)
This teaching causes people not to take responsibility of their sins. If someone is immoral, the blame is placed on the late uncle who was equally immoral. People sin because they are sinners, who need the grace of God to cleanse them of their sins. (Rom 3:9-13)
As Christians there is no curse, no spell that will require us to run to another man for deliverance. The bible tells us that greater is he that is within us than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)