The following is an excerpt from Setting Captives Free. The topic of generational curses can be controversial, but it is very real and relevant. In Christ, we can be set free from every generational curse and stronghold!
In a symbolic reference to defeating the Amorites—an enemy nation—the Lord said this to Israel: “I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath” (Amos 2:9). There is a principle enclosed in this brief statement: if there is fruit above, then there are roots beneath. Fruit in our lives—both good and bad—does not grow overnight. Before fruit can be produced there must be roots beneath the surface. For the sake of our study here, I want to apply this to sinful behaviors and negative characteristics.
In dealing with sinful behavior and negative characteristics, it is important that we deal with not only the behavior itself, but also the root cause. Like God dealt with the Amorites, we must destroy both the fruit above and the roots beneath. If you have ever pulled weeds you know that if you do not deal with the roots, the weed will spring back up in no time. It is the same with the bad fruit in our lives. We need to cut out the root so that the fruit will not be able to grow.
What does this have to do with generational curses? A generational curse is an example of a root beneath the surface that produces bad fruit above the surface. A generational curse is simply a curse or stronghold that is passed down from one generation to the next. Just like we receive an inheritance of physical traits from our parents, we also receive a spiritual inheritance from our family line. This includes both blessings and curses. One of the foundational Scriptures for this is Exodus 20:4-6:
You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
The iniquity of parents is visited upon their children. To be clear, this does not mean that children are charged with guilt for the sins of their parents (see Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:19-20). However, the sins of parents do have an adverse effect upon their children and open the door for similar patterns of sin. When parents—who are meant to provide spiritual protection for their children—walk in iniquity, idolatry, and sin, children are left more vulnerable to the enemy’s work. As the sin of Adam and Eve passed on to their offspring, so our sinful tendencies can pass on to our offspring.
Have you ever wondered why some people are prone to certain sins while others are not? There are various factors that can influence this, but one of them is generational curses. Sinful strongholds that are not broken end up being passed down to the next generation. If there is a pattern of sexual sin in your family line, this may be a bigger battle for you than for others. If one of your parents couldn’t conquer uncontrollable anger, you may find that you are also prone to outbursts of rage. The same could be said of worry, greed, unbelief, pride, or various other types of sin.
We can see examples of this dynamic in Scripture. While Abraham is considered the father of the faith and had a tremendous walk with God, he had his sins and flaws like the rest of us. One time he used deception to protect himself before a king, asking Sarah to lie about being his wife and to claim only to be his sister. What is fascinating is that Abraham’s son, Isaac, fell into this exact same trap. And then we know that Isaac’s son, Jacob, had a problem with using deception. We can see that this pattern of sin was passed from one generation to the next.
The following testimony illustrates how freedom from a generational curse can be an important aspect of deliverance from bondage. A young man named Steve had been pulled into sexual fantasy and immorality at a very young age. He found himself drawn to it, even before he was ever exposed to pornography. This only increased as he got older. He was involved in pornography, and after getting married this continued to be a problem. He was tempted toward infidelity and seemed to be stuck in a pattern of immorality. He attended a weekend conference that I spoke at on the topic of deliverance. On the opening night he experienced a demonic manifestation while in the meeting, and knew that he needed to come the next day to receive ministry. During the prayer for deliverance on that next day, he began to experience more manifestations, particularly when we were breaking generational curses. He was delivered that day, and has never been the same since. The drawing to sexual immorality has been broken and he is walking in freedom and purity.
This shows how a generational curse can be the root cause of a sinful pattern, and how breaking the curse can be a key for finding lasting freedom. To be clear, we can never blame our parents or previous generations for our own choices and sins. We must take responsibility and repent where we have sinned. But being able to identify generational curses and strongholds can help explain why we battle certain sins more than others and can help us get free. We can receive deliverance from sinful strongholds and any evil spirits that are attached to them, and we can begin to walk in the blessing of God. And we are not just fighting for ourselves; we are fighting for future generations. What we conquer, our children will inherit!
Setting Captives Free is filled with biblical teaching on the topic of demons and deliverance, powerful testimonies of those who have been set free, and practical prayers that you can use for yourself or others in need of deliverance. Make sure to get your copy!