Are they real? Yes they are and it is so important when contemplating sin to understand consequences that can surpass the moment inflicting pain on future generations. We can read about the first generational curse in Genesis upon Adam and Eve’s consumption of the forbidden fruit. Although the curse from that still remains in labor and physical death, by our Lord’s grace and mercy, in accepting His gift of salvation, we can be spared eternal spiritual death (separation from God). We see stories throughout the Bible of curses affecting generations that are perhaps examples that God allowed to be shared with us to show us how destructive sin can be.
In looking at our world today, we can still see generational curses. Take a parent who is an alcoholic for example; should they have children, it is believed their children are more prone to becoming alcoholics themselves if they should decided to start drinking. A pregnant mother who drinks also takes the risk of having a baby with various fetal alcohol effects that can cause lifelong serious challenges for her child.
Mental illness in another example of a generational curse. It was never God’s intent for us to endure depression, bipolar, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) among many others. We live in a fallen world and as a result, we are not all perfect and have things we each struggle with. Mental illness is often hereditary. I believe it to be a generational curse in this case. There are many infirmities that are hereditary. Though the Lord certainly allows this, He is certainly able to use our weaknesses to keep us humble as well as use us for His glory.
The choices we make financially can have lasting impacts on future generations; possibly affecting what kind of neighborhoods will be of influence to the children, schools, financial stresses from money worries, feelings of inadequacy, government dependence… These things aren’t always caused by our choice initially but can have lasting effects regardless. Abusive discipline practices can also be passed down the family line. Grown children might find themselves reacting toward their children in similar manner in which they were disciplined. Pretty much any sin I think about has the potential of affecting someone to the point where there are lasting impressions on people and their family or friends.
So what can we do from here?
- Identify the sin: “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26:40-43)
- Repent: “Please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel which we have sinned against You, Both my father’s house and I have sinned.” (Nehemiah 1:6)
- Seek God and His blessing for your life: “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)ue reading Deuteronomy chapter 28, you can see the blessing that was promised to these who obeyed God’s commands for that time.
Though I’m using Old Testament scripture, I think it’s important to recognize that God is unchanging. He is still the same God with the same character to wanting to bless us and protect us as any good loving father would.
Scripture references are quoted from the NKJV.