As Christian counselors and deliverance ministers, our ministry sees many cases of “generational curses” being passed down through family lines. In fact, I believe that this issue may be responsible for between one half and two thirds of the issues people deal with!
There are families where each generation will have those that suffer from: alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty, stealing, lying, violence, child molesting, promiscuity, mental illness, fear, feelings of inferiority, suicide, as well as many illnesses.
Exodus 20:5-6 (NIV) is one of the best known scriptures about generational curses:
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
It sounds unfair for God to punish children for the sins of their fathers. However, this is looking at it from an earthly perspective. When a father has a sinning way of life, his children are likely to have the same sinful lifestyle as well. That is why it is not undeserved for God to penalize sin to the third or fourth generation – because they are committing the same sins their ancestors did. From a spiritual warfare perspective, we need to understand that repetitive, or family sins, can open the door for demonic torment.
Each person is being punished for their own sins, not the sins of their ancestors. The Bible expressly tells us that God does not hold children liable for the sins of their parents (Deuteronomy 24:16).The Bible tells us that the sins of the father can be “visited” down to the third and fourth generations of future children and this “visitation” can include demonic oppression, or demonic possession in the case of those not belonging to Christ.
Generational Curses Broken By Jesus But Spirits Can Still Be Active
What does God mean by the word “visiting” – visiting the sins of the father down on three or four generations of future children? The Bible tells us that the “wages” of sin will always be death. In other words, sin has consequences, and if the sins are on the more heavy and serious side – then the consequences could be extreme.
If the sinning parent is indwelt and therefore under attack by demonic spirits, they will then attempt to transfer onto one or more of the children in the family to form out a bloodline curse. Generational curses involve demonic torment and indwelling. If this curse line ends up getting formed out – then the demons will torment that child into his adult life and try to get him to commit the same type of sins that his sinning parent had been committing. Until he gets delivered from those spirits, either sovereignly by the Lord or by being ministered to, he will be tormented.
The good news is that Jesus has broken these generational curses however the spirits can still be operating in a person’s life. As deliverance ministers, we “appropriate” that victory by breaking the curses, cancelling the assignment of spirits associated with that curse and as part of the ministry process we see people get set free!