One of the basic problems we have today in Christianity is the trend of ‘uneducated and ignorant’ men/women who cannot reconcile the sociological/cultural contexts of the Bible along with other exegetical demands for a better biblical hermeneutics; instead they prefer taking every Biblical word/phrase literarily, and often twisting the Word of God by psychologically infusing fear in the minds of their followers in order to milk them of their resources. One of these problems is the unfortunate invention of “ANCESTRAL/GENERATIONAL CURSES”. These church leaders (out of a poor biblical and intellectual foundation) allege that sins of parents or ancestors are the cause of various misfortunes like sickness, not having children, accidents, loss of fortunes, debts, etc. Such erroneous interpretations have given rise to a lot of misunderstandings. This idea has set children at perpetual enmity with their parents. When children tell their parents that it is due to their misdeeds that their own children are not able to find life-partners or that they are not having children, imagine the grief and guilt feelings that the old parents will experience. This false theory has created more harm than good in our society; all in the name of religion, particularly, Christianity. In order to perpetuate this false theory, they post banners and bills asking people to come for “Revival and Crusade” aimed at breaking generational/ancestral curses and be free… WHAT GENERATIONAL CURSE, IF I MAY ASK? Besides, the condition of the people never improves; it only gets worse by the day. Particularly, I have heard many people giving wrong interpretations when talking about the ancestral/generational curses mentioned in the Bible. Unfortunately, some Catholics believe in this deviation.
The proponents of this false theory of “ancestral/generational curses” have some biblical passages which appear to support their claim; however, these biblical passages when taken into consideration contextually in line with other scriptural passages, one would discover that the Bible has nothing to say in this regard and that the whole idea about this is FALSE. People are dying today because of a psychological fear infused in them by their pastors or church leaders, and not generational curses.
Let us examine the context of the biblical passage carefully: God said: “I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 20:5) Other biblical passages in line with this include: Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9. Now, why did God say this? First, God said this in the context of giving his laws to the Israelites. Secondly, It was as a result of the hardened hearts of the Israelites and their tendency to deviate from Him on the journey to the promised land. As such, God seeing their iniquity and hard-heartedness, said this so that they might not be lost and also to teach them the seriousness of their sins. However, when they entered the promised land, the Israelites were getting the wrong notion of that passage, as such, God had to clarify himself. In the Book of Ezekiel, we read, “What is this proverb people keep repeating in the land of Israel? ‘The parents ate the sour grapes, but the children got the sour taste.’ As surely as I am the living God, says the sovereign Lord, You will not repeat this proverb in Israel anymore. The life of every person belongs to me, the life of the parent as well as that of the child. The person who sins is the one who will die” (Ezk. 18:1-4). If the father eats sour grapes the son will not get the sour taste, only the father will get it. Everyone’s life is in God’s hands. In 2 Kings 14:6, this truth is concretized: “Parents are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their parents; a person is to be put to death only for a crime he himself has committed”.
Even at the time of Jesus in the New Testament, there is also a Gospel passage in John where Jesus healed a blind man and the people (still with their wrong mentality) wanted to know what sin his parents had committed that made him blind. Jesus said that the man was not blind because of the sins of his parents, but so the glory of God could be shown to the world (cf. Jn. 9:2-3).
Dear friends in Christ, there is nothing like “Generational Curses”. At conception, the soul is directly created by God. God does not create a soul that is cursed. However, the Bible teaches us that the original sin of Adam and Eve were inherited by everyone. This we see in the words of the psalmist – “O see, in guilt was I born, a sinner was I conceived” (Ps. 51:5). Even Paul notes that “all have sinned” (Rm 3:23); this is because, through Adam, sin entered through the world, but through Christ, we gain redemption (cf. Rom 5:12). There is no personal culpability for that original sin which entered the world; it is a state, not a personal act. Moreover, Baptism through Christ completely wipes away that original sin, past personal sins, and all punishment due for any past sins. It is through baptism that we gain salvation – “baptism now saves you” (1 Pet 3:21; also read The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1265). This was made possible by Christ’s death on the Cross. Put differently, in order to take away the Sin of the whole world God gave us a Lamb, His own son (cf. Jn.1:29). This Lamb that was sent to take away the sin of the whole human race was sacrificed on the cross on Calvary. In order that the early Christians might not get soaked in the negative mentality of ancestral or generational curses, Saint Peter teaches them “You know what was paid to set you free from the worthless manner of life handed down by your ancestors. It was not something that can be destroyed, such as silver or gold. It was the costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or flaw” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Dear friends in Christ, the next time anyone tells you or invites you for a crusade for breaking generational/ancestral curses, if you cannot sit him/her down and teach them the Scripture properly, kindly run for your life. All they want to achieve is to sow division and hatred in your home. As a baptized (born again) Christian, you have no ancestral/generational curse in you.
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– By Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ