Generational curses are common in India. There is increasing talk about them in western countries and among Christians.
Someone has defined a generational curse as “the cumulative effect on a person of things that their ancestors did, believed or practiced in the past, and a consequence of an ancestor’s actions, beliefs and sins being passed down.” What does the Bible tell us about generational curses?
A verse often cited is Exodus 20:5 which tells us that God’s wrath is visited to the third and fourth generation of those who hate God.
Too often, however, this passage is isolated from its full context. The passage also tells us that God’s mercy is visited upon thousands of generations of those who love God. Note the contrast—three or four generations of wrath, but thousands of generations of mercy. The purpose of this passage is not to communicate a specific number of generations He will bless and curse but to contrast God’s greater mercy with His wrath.
We should note that the term “generational curse” appears nowhere in the Bible.
Generational curses do not come from God, but from sinful human nature. Sin results from our distrust of God, our alienation from God. We shut out God’s light, and spirits of darkness take over, replacing God’s truth with lies. We wander into traps of our own making, leading to all kinds of slavery.
Sinful lifestyles are learned by example by one generation after another. For example, when a parent adopts a dark view of life, it can result in lifestyles of alcohol or drug addiction, abuse, divorce, gambling, incest or sexual promiscuity. It is likely the children will pick them up.
Our first ancestor, Adam, alienated himself from God, and through him, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Through our first ancestor, we all face the prospect of a generational curse.
Generational curses are a human-made form of captivity, blindness and oppression in which many generations may suffer.
Jesus Christ tells us that “He [God] has sent me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
Paul the apostle writes, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). He became the curse through His death on the cross. He broke the curse when He rose from the grave.
Paul also tells us that Jesus Christ is the Second Adam who frees us from the curse. “Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so the result of the one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men” (Romans 5:18).
Through His cross and resurrection, Jesus Christ has broken the power of every curse including the generational curse.
In Christ, we no longer must live as victims of the past. Let us put these things behind us and enter the new way of life Jesus Christ has already provided through the cross. Let us renew our minds daily with this truth (Romans 12:2).
The best news is that this is a free gift paid by God through Christ. Let us live in His grace and experience His freedom. Let us also proclaim it to all of India and beyond.