Summary: Discusses "Generational Curses" in the family. I have compiled this sermon after much research. Using other materials and my own.

Title: Breaking the Chains of Generational Curses

Theme: Family Focus Series

Text: Exodus 34:6-7

Exodus 34:6-7 “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the father upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation.” Similar scriptures are Exodus 20:5, Num 14:18, Deut 5:9.


“visiting the iniquity of the father upon the children, and upon the children’s children, and unto the third and fourth generation”

These are some interesting scriptures to ponder. If they are true then they have some major implications. It would be easy to ignore these scriptures if this was the only one but it is mentioned three other times in the Bible. Exodus 20:5, Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9

What does it mean? It means that the sins of a family can be passed down from generation to generation.

Moses and generational curses

Generational curses are judgments that are passed on to individuals because of sins perpetuated in a family in a number of generations. Generational curses are similar to original sin curses because they can be passed down on a generational basis. They differ in that generational curses do not impose eternal judgment. They bring judgment or bondage during an individual’s life, reducing the quality of life, until that individual addresses the sin issues that put the curses into place.

Moses addressed this issue when the Israelites were preparing to enter the promised land. He told the new generation that was preparing to enter in that they would not enter unless the dealt with their own personal sins and also the sins of their fathers. The account can be found in

Leviticus 26:39-42 "Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers’ sin they will waste away. But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers - their treachery against me 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."

Difference between punishment and suffering

We see that it is possible to suffer because of a sin or sins that our parents or forefathers committed, but is that suffering punishment from God? Are we being punished for our parent’s sins? The answer is “no!” We are not being punished for our parent’s sin! God didn’t say in Exodus 34:7 that he visits the “punishment” of the fathers upon the children; he said, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children . . .” He visits the “sin” upon the children and grandchildren. This means that the children and grandchildren will repeat many of the same sins.

Definition of generation curses

One reasonable definition of a generational sin or curse is that it is “the natural consequence of ingrained behavioral patterns that are passed down from one generation to the next.” Generational sin can be viewed as learned behavioral patterns, and this includes “spiritual” behavioral patterns.

Individual Responsibility

I want to talk about this a little bit more, but before I do I want to point out our individual responsibility for our sins. In Ezekiel 18:2 we find that the children of Israel were trying to excuse themselves of their own individual responsibility for sin, for they were quoting a proverb, which said, “The father’s have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” They were basically saying, “Our father’s sinned, and we are unjustly being punished for their sins,” when in actuality they were being punished for their own sins.

The Lord said in Ezekiel 18:4, “The soul who sins shall die.” God basically told them, “You are not being punished for your parent’s sins, but for your own sins.”

The Israelites repeated the same sins of their forefathers, and so they were suffering the same consequences of their forefather’s sins. Likewise, many of us are repeating the same sins of our forefathers, and therefore we are suffering the same consequences, but we are not being punished for their sins.

A generational sin, or generational curse, is when we practice the sins of our forefathers, and these sinful behavioral patterns are ingrained within us, and they have remained in our households and families for many years.

Behavioral Sins

There are numerous sinful behavioral patterns and sins that can be passed on through the generations such as: Divorce, Addictions, Sexual Sins, Emotional Disorders, Depression, Bitterness, Negativity, Prejudice, Poverty, Failure, and Worry. You name it, and there is a very good chance that it can be passed on. I have heard that some health problems can be the result of generational sin. Some health problems are linked with stress and worry.

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J. Lee Simmons

commented on Feb 28, 2008

Excellent approach to a controversial subject. A good balanced approach to the topic. A rare subject for most pastors.

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