How to Break Generational Curses

Do you ever feel bound by the mistakes your family has made?

Maybe you’re struggling with the same addictions as Dad, or display the same temper as Mom. 

Deuteronomy 5:9 tells us, I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”

Paying the price for your own mistakes and missteps is hard enough. But paying the price for your ancestors? Well, that seems like an awfully heavy burden to bear. 

That’s why we can’t stop there. When we dig deeper, we see that a generational curse in the Old Testament was a consequence for a specific nation (Israel) for a specific sin (idolatry). 

So, does that refer to followers of Christ today? 

There is good news in this story: when Israel turned from their idols and turned to God the curse was broken. (See Judges 3:9-15 and 1 Samuel 12:10-11.)

The most encouraging news of all can be found in Exodus 20:6: “God says, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

This shows us that God’s love lasts so much longer than his anger.

You may be saying, “That’s great news Kris, but why am I suffering the same things as my parents did?” 

I’m going to explain that and then show you how to break free. 

We often mistake a curse for a cycle. A cycle is a specific pattern that makes you more likely to fall into because of your exposure to it.

So a person can be more likely to fall into pornography, addiction, divorce, substance abuse, occult practices, anger, manipulation, and toxic behavior, not because there is a curse in the family, but because of the patterns that have been taught and caught.

If you grew up with a mother who always lied and seduced her way through life, then it’s more likely that you’ve been taught and caught the patterns of manipulation and default to them for yourself.

If you grew up watching Dad beat up on Mom when he was drinking, there’s the strong possibility that you will end up like Dad or be with someone like Dad, not because you want to but because it’s familiar.

If you grew up in a divorced situation and one parent hated the other and had you lie, there’s a stronger possibility that you will grow up with an issue of lying.

Why? It’s what you’ve learned.

The strongholds and sins that our parents struggled with get passed down to us not through a curse but through a cycle. 

But you don’t have to stay stuck. Those destructive cycles can be broken. Here’s how.

Step #1: Surrender to Jesus. In Christ, you are a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!”

If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior and are living a life submitted to Him, a curse cannot be passed down to you or be upon you. If you are in Christ, the choices that your ancestors made can’t be held against you. If you are in Christ, any curse from the past has been broken.

Step #2: Own your own sin. 

It’s very fashionable in Christian circles today to blame our sins on demons and generational curses, but this isn’t biblical. God commands us to take personal responsibility for our thoughts and actions. Yes, even if your sin is exactly the same sin that generations before you have struggled with, you have to own your choice to sin or not to sin.

In the Bible, the cure for a generational curse has always been and will always be repentance. When Israel turned from their sin, God said, “I will bless you for a thousand generations.”

So what does owning your sin look like? It’s not enough to just know that you’ve done wrong, you must:

1. Confess your sins. Confession of sin is the admission of what you did and the agreement with God that your actions or words were wrong. 

First, we are to confess our sins to God. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Second, we are to confess our sins to other believers. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” When you have wronged someone, it is appropriate to confess your wrongdoing to that person and seek forgiveness.

2. Turn from sins. Hebrews 10:26 tells us, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.“ 

Being sorry for your sins isn’t enough and blaming someone else for your sins certainly isn’t going to fly in God’s kingdom. You must repent. Repenting means to “turn from”. In other words, STOP. Your sin is your responsibility.

3. Renew your mind. When you grow up learning sinful, toxic, dysfunctional patterns, you’re told lies that you believe as truth. Once these lies become fortified, they become mindsets that shape your thinking, relating, and decision-making.

If you truly want to break free from generation cycles, the solution can be found in Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

God wants to see you set free from curses and cycles alike and in His love and mercy, He provided a simple solution: Receive His son, repent of your sins, and renew your mind.

Can Christians be affected by the consequences of generational cycles? YES.

Can Christians be under generational curses? NO. Galatians 3:13 says it all.

Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

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