“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’” Exodus 34:6-7 ESV
Generational curses are behaviors we adopt because of the environment we are brought up in. Addictions and abuses can influence our behavior, but ultimately, we all have the choice to shake off those chains and embrace freedom in Christ. “The sins of the fathers are punished in the children through becoming the children’s own sin,” John Piper explains, “the hatred of God is the embodiment of what the father’s problem was.” Consequences for repeated sins are definitely generational. God proclaimed to Moses in the verses above He would not leave the guilty unpunished. Why would He want His children to continue on in deplorable habits that would bring them no true happiness or satisfaction? God so love the world, He sent His only Son to save us. (John 3:16) He is slow to anger, always good, and He provided a way for us to break the curse of sin we are all born under.
Paul wrote, “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
A Prayer to Break Generational Curses
Goodness and grace define You. Abba, Father. The One True, Triune, God, glory be to You for who we are and all You have made. As our Creator and Author, You know the mountains of sin that stare us down here on earth. The curse of sin Adam and Eve ushered in is still ravaging the earth and every human bit of flesh existing in it. Yet, from the beginning of time, You made a way for us to experience freedom from the death warranted for the sin we cannot avoid. Jesus, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus, You freed us from every sin, curse, hex, and chain when You took on the cross. You know how we feel and faithfully walk alongside us. Holy Spirit, our comforter, we are grateful that You live in every Christ Follower. Thank You that our salvation in You, O Lord, breaks generational curses. In Christ, the power of sin and death no longer holds us.
God, when we forget our freedom and shelve our peace, remind us of who and Whose we are. You have given us a purpose that is unique, and beyond all we can ever ask for or imagine. You know us better than we know ourselves. Our hearts cry out in murmurs only the Spirit can translate to heaven. Lead us to the truth of Your Word, complete with explanation and answer. May we bravely come to You for clarification and have ears to hear Your answers. From the first page of Scripture to the last, we believe in Your divinely inspired Word to be the only rock-solid truth. Help us to build the foundation of our lives upon Your Word. Each day, assist us as we armor up to face the world. May our eyes, our hearts, our ears, and our very being turn to You, over and over.
Generational curses are no match for the power of the One True God. You are mighty to save, faithful, and abounding in love for Your family. In Christ, we are no longer who we were without You but are adopted into Your family. We become workers for the Kingdom of God and look forward to eternity in Heaven. Jesus, the hope of Your return to right all wrongs and relieve all pain lifts our countenance and reminds us how loved we are. Thank You for loving us for who we are, right where we are at. We meet You here in this place today, God, and know undoubtedly nothing this world can throw at us is more powerful than You. No person, or thing, can stop the plan You have for our lives. You tell us not to worry. Increase our trust in You. In a world throwing us curveballs …keep us alert and focused on You at all times.
Jesus, You came for all of us, and You chose us. Forgive us for our sins and soften our hearts to Your Word. We believe in You, Jesus. Thank You for embracing us when we thought curses and sins would surely kill us. Continue to rescue us from the pain of this world. Savior, God. We love you. Protect us from the tendencies and strongholds of sin we struggle with. Help us to name them, look at them head-on, and do the work to turn from them to You. We lift the burden and weight of them up to You. We know You are able to crush our enemy and sustain us through unbearable circumstances. The temporary pain of this world will one day pass, but Jesus, our Savior, You reign forever. Humbled are we to call you Savior, Lord, and friend.
In Jesus’ name,
Scriptures about Breaking Generational Curses
“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-‘“ Galatians 3:13 NIV
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,” Colossians 2:13 ESV
“‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors- their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies- then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.’” Leviticus 26:40-42 NIV
“No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgement. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17 ESV
“For our struggle is not against the flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 NIV
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 ESV
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 ESV
“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43 NIV\
What Are Generational Curses?
Generational curses are inherited from behaviors that trickle down one generation after another, or they can be habits and strongholds we ourselves fall into and struggle to stumble out of. Pornography, alcoholism, eating disorders, drug addiction, sexual abuse, adultery. All of these categorically sinful habits can be considered generational curses. “When we acquire a sinful habitat believe that negatively affects our lives or those around us, this is known as a generational curse,” Hank Hanegraaff explains, “It is the shadow side of behavior passed down through the generations.”
Less taboo generational habits can be just as dangerous and entrapping. Laziness, gossip, self-pity, condemnation and criticism, stubbornness, and overspending can be the damaging roots of sinful strongholds. A wise mentor once advised me, if I was acutely bothered by a noticeable behavior in someone else, it was most likely because I struggled with a tinge of it …or possibly sat fully entangled in it ….myself. God alerts us in many ways! We are not to blame our parents or grandparents for our behaviors. Even if we’ve inherited the same tendencies, we all have the opportunity to embrace freedom in Christ.
How Are Generational Curses Broken?
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Jesus has broken every curse on the cross. Our cursed chains are snapped the minute we hand them over to Him. We have to do the hard work of turning from our sinful behavior, but in Christ, we are part of a new family, God’s family! The power of the cross sets us free from the curse of sin that is death. Christ came for all, and all have the opportunity to embrace freedom in Him. “Generational curses are a phenomenon of human nature and learnt by example and influence,” Isaac Makashinyi wrote for The Gospel Coalition, “Consequences, not curses, are passed on through the generations.”
If we are in Christ, every curse has already been broken. There will always be consequences for sin and disobedience. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. A good father disciplines His children. So does our Father lovingly guide us, despite the painful onslaught of our bad and disobedient decisions. But we are not held accountable for someone else’s sin. Ezekiel 18:20 proclaims, “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.”
Jesus is our everything. His saving act was God’s plan from the beginning. The Spirit is faithful to nudge and reminds us, daily, we are loved. “If you dwell forever in fellowship with the Heavenly Father, it won’t be because you somehow managed to avoid the mistakes made by previous generations. It will be because you accepted God’s merciful offer of unmerited deliverance and salvation” (Focus on the Family). Love drives out all generational curses. Our earthly families will frustrate and fail us because we are all imperfect. But God has adopted us into His family. Jesus has called us friends, and the Living God lives in us. Generational curses have no power over the One True King.