Can Christians be under a generational curse?

The belief that individuals can be under a generational curse is completely false. Many writers have cashed in on the fears of people who are uninformed on the Bible’s teaching and have written many books supposedly teaching people how to break these curses.


The supposed generational curse theory claims that we are under the curse of God for up to four generations based on the sins committed by our ancestors. Those claiming to be ‘bondage breakers’ then state that each person must carry the burden of finding out and confessing the sins of those who have lived in the past. The belief is that our propensity to sin is a curse that clings to us. Financial trouble, hardships and just plain bad luck is believed to be the product of curses that we carry. However, if you examine the lives of those who have attempted to break bondages, they still have to struggle through this life; still battle sin; still have financial struggles and so on. In truth, our problem with sin is founding the Bible and the reason people cannot overcome sin is because most people walk in the flesh. It is personal disobedience that causes us to struggle with the flesh as we live for ourselves instead of dying to ourselves as the Bible instructs. The secret to overcoming the ‘demons of finance’ is to examine what you spend, track your finances and live within a budget. We all struggle with the same problems; however, those who deal with the struggles of this life according to what God has instructed will overcome and have victory.


Consider this promise from Psalm 128:1-4  

Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways.  2 When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.  3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table.  4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD.


Do we believe for a moment that God will not honor His promise to bless when we obey just because our father, grandfather, great grandfather or great, great grandfather did not obey? To believe in a curse over the promises of God is a complete lack of faith. To disbelieve the promises of God will indeed bring upon ourselves a curse for the Bible expressly warns those who do not believe in His promises are contrary to His word. The children of Israel could not enter the Promised Land because of unbelief. This is reiterated again in James 1:  

25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.


If you read both the Old and New Testaments you will see the same promise over and over again – you are blessed if you obey and cursed if you disobey. This was the message at the beginning (See Deuteronomy 11:26-28). God has not changed and the New Testament continues to reinforce the blessing for obedience and curse for disobedience.


The problem is that people mistake the warning against the nation as though it applies to individuals. When God addressed the nation, God forewarned that if the nation of Israel turned against Him, God would judge the nation for up to four generations. The passage used by those who teach that individuals are under the generational curse is found in Exodus 20:4-6  

4 ” You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or 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;  5 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 on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.


Take note that even this passage does not support the generational curse for individuals for while God is warning that He will visit the sins of the fathers on the children for 3-4 generations, He includes the promise that WHILE He is visiting the sins on those who hate Him, He will show mercy to those who love Him and keep God’s commandments. So even in the passage that supposedly teaches the generational curse, God is promising to show mercy on those who love God. This fully agrees with Deuteronomy 24:

16 “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.


God will judge the nation who turns from Him and indeed warns that the nation that forgets God will be turned into hell (Psalm 9:17) and this will directly affect the children; however, God will never judge you for the sins of your parents or forefathers. If God judges your nation, it will definitely affect your life, but God will still deal with you according to your own obedience or sin. The sins of your forefathers cannot nullify the promises of God to those who obey Him. God’s promises are a sure foundation that you can rest securely in. It is very biblical to pray for your nation and confess the sins of your forefathers and to stand in the gap for the people. See Daniel’s prayer for Israel in Daniel chapter 9. Ezekiel 22:29-31 also explains that God calls us to stand in the gap for our nation to prevent judgment against the nation. When none is found, God brings judgment.


This is quite different than believing that you must do something to earn the favor of God.  1 John 1:9 says:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Colossians 2:14 also states that in Christ, God has wiped out all the requirements that were against us.  Either we believe that Jesus set the captives free, cleansed us, and that we are blessed through Him, or we do not believe. God has repeatedly warned that God judges those who do not believe the promises of God. Finally, look at this wonderful passage in Romans 8:26-31  

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.  31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?


We have the promise that the Spirit intercedes on our behalf to help us even when we do not understand what to pray. What is the purpose of all of these promises? So that we can live according to the will of God knowing that nothing can stand against us – for if God is for us, who can be against us? Our forefathers? No. A generational curse? No. The Bible only identifies one thing that can hinder the work of God in our lives. This is found in Hebrews 3:

12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;


Sin is the result of unbelief. We don’t believe God will fulfill us; therefore, we sin in an attempt to gratify ourselves. When we don’t believe God’s word, we disobey, attempt to accomplish God’s work through our efforts (thinking that God is not able and we must help Him), and even attempting to break a curse. This curse was broken on the cross of Jesus Christ. If we have unbelief, we will attempt to do what we do not believe God accomplished through the cross. When we do not believe the cross was sufficient, we will attempt to put ourselves in His place and come up with unbiblical religious practices thinking we are finishing what Christ did not do. This is an act of unbelief and ironically puts us under the curse of departing from the living God. Bondage breakers and other generational curse theologies are such practices.


Stick with the scriptures and you will walk in truth. Anyone who comes up with a ‘secret to change your life’ is rarely in agreement with the scriptures. Blessed are you if you obey – no curse can overcome this promise.


Eddie Snipes