Generational Curses - Real or Imagined?(By Christopher Long, BodEquip Ministries)
In some charismatic circles, there can be much talk about generational curses in the context of praying for people. When people use the phrase "generational curse", typically what they are referring to is some sin pattern or bondage that has been passed down to a person from previous generations in their family line, and usually it is specifically used in reference to being due to demonic involvement.
First of all, the entire human race is under a "generational curse" called sin that was set in motion when Adam & Eve disobeyed God in the Garden. In that sense, all of humanity is born into a cursed state if you will. We are all born into a state of sin and openness to demonic involvement in our life because of this.
In the Old Testament, there is talk of the consequences of sin as affecting several generations. Exodus 34:7 talks of how the punishment for a man's sin can be visited down to the third and fourth generations. This is the verse that many of the people that like to talk of "generational curses" like to point to. But when you read the verse, it's not the sin being passed down, but the consequences. And it's actually not in the context of demonic involvement or demons causing things, but of what God will do. God basically talks of how he keeps steadfast love to the thousandth generation for those that do what's right, but will "visit" or "punish" iniquity to the third and fourth generation. Further, this passage was directly when Moses was being given the law. This is an Old Covenant, law-based passage.
Now, with that said, demonic involvement in generations does make sense. If a demon is working in a person's life and a demon has attached themselves to a person which produces some undesirable behavior and the demon sees the success with that, then why wouldn't the demon want to continue that same pattern of behavior in the person's children? Also, children just naturally tend to emulate what they see modeled for them in behavior - so there is also simply "learned bad behavior". We all know this.
So in some sense, you can call any of this a "generational curse" if you want to, and again, since the root issue is sin and the curses brought about due to the original sin in the Garden, in a sense it is all generational.
If you're in Jesus Christ and relying on Jesus Christ for your salvation and not the law or your own goodness or whatever, then have I got some great news for you!
In Jesus, we have been set completely free. We've been set free of sin. We've been set free of the law. We've been set free of all curses.
Galatians 3:11-14 says:
"Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for 'The righteous shall live by faith.' But the law is not of faith, rather 'The one who does them shall live by them.' Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree' — so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith."
In this passage, we are specifically told that the law doesn't justify anybody and is not of faith, and that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law by Himself becoming a curse for us. JESUS took our curses, so that all that remains for us is BLESSINGS!!
So that's the truth - that's what Jesus did. He paid for every curse and there is no generational anything that is greater than Jesus' sacrifice. It's already been done. We've switched kingdoms. Jesus "HAS delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 13b-14 ESV, emphasis mine). Notice the "has" is past-tense. It's already done in Jesus.
However, here's the catch. The devil will take whatever ground a Christian will give him and many Christians are actually quite ignorant to who they really are and the authority they have over the devil and their own life.
So can a Christian passively accept and allow a demon or sin-pattern in their life, even one that was present in their previous generations? Absolutely!
I'm not talking about a Christian being "possessed" by the devil - that can't happen for a person that's been born again from above in their spirit. But a Christian can absolutely allow demonic involvement in their life and demons can absolutely attach themselves to believers that allow them. Not in their born-again spirit, but in their soulish realm. Since many Christians don't know the authority they have and/or don't walk in it, they just passively allow the demonic to walk all over them. And this can definitely be in same sin-pattern areas where their parents or grandparents also walked.
The answer for Christians is not really to "break generational curses" - Jesus already did that. The answer for Christians is to come into agreement with what Jesus did and enforce that by commanding any such demonic involvement to go and to renounce and reject and eject all sin in their life in the areas where the devil has had a foothold or stronghold or whatever terminology you want to use. On some level I suppose you could call this process "breaking generational curses" in the sense that you are enforcing the breakage of them over your life, but a better terminology for it would be "aligning yourself with the freedom Jesus already purchased for you when HE broke all curses against you."
So, is it wrong for a Christian praying for another Christian to point out areas where they maybe perceive that there have been some sin issues that have been generationally present and demonic attachments that haven't been addressed? No, not necessarily (though love & gentleness should always rule the day). However, this also gets abused where some well-meaning believers start throwing around the "generational curse" buzzword all the time and looking for generational sin issues at every turn. These tend to be the same people that find a demon under every rock and that spend much of their time focused on the devil, rather than the truth of Jesus.
Yes, Christians can allow demonic involvement in their life. The devil was very active in Jesus' day in afflicting people, and he's still very active today. And he no doubt loves to destroy families using same or similar methods from one generation to another. Christians have been set free from this, but they have to enforce it. If they use their God-given authority to passively still allow the devil in their life, then the devil won't really see a need to go (or stay gone). Also, even if the devil/demonic leave, a Christian can still have learned patterns of behavior that they have walked in for many years. While the believer is born again in their spirit, the brain still has learned pathways on things. This is where renewing the mind is so important (Romans 12:2) in aligning your body and soul up with your born-again spirit. This is also where speaking and declaring the healing power of God over your body and mind are so important. God has given you all things you need as a believer to walk in the freedom, health, and wholeness that was purchased for you (2 Peter 1:3). Just declare it and speak it and submit yourself to God and resist the devil.
This doesn't have to be some long drawn out thing - there's some major religious nonsense in this area (and in the area of deliverance in general). Just submit to God (which implies submitting to who He is and agreeing with who YOU are in Him), resist the devil, and declare the truth over your life. If there's areas that have been continual problem areas, submit those areas unto the Lord and the truth that you are free in Jesus and using your authority, renounce those things in your life and command any demons behind any of that stuff to go. You have authority over your life in Jesus to make every demon go.
Then, maintain that posture of freedom. Galatians 5:1 says, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
You can choose as a believer to live in freedom or not - to live in Christ's freedom or to allow yourself to submit to the devil's plan of slavery of sin (or the slavery of the law which is actually the context of that passage). Stand in your freedom and in the knowledge that Jesus has ALREADY set you free from all curses of any type and that any demon trying to affect you in any way is there illegally - don't allow them - tell them to take a hike and enjoy your freedom and the blessings of God!
This article is Copyright by Christopher Long 2023. All rights reserved. You may quote/reprint this article for any non-commercial purpose without obtaining permission as long as you use the entire text and that all text, including this and all following notices, is not modified or removed in any fashion. For any other usage, you must obtain written permission from the author.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This is version 1.1 of this document (April 25, 2023).
Previous versions: 1.0 (April 24, 2023)
This document is provided as a ministry outreach of BodEquip Ministries. http://www.bodequip.org