I’ve heard it many times in counseling, where a person talks about how they are under some sort of curse. Here is a real counseling situation where a girl believed she was part of a generational curse.
Roxanne could not stop gushing about how happy she was. God was good and she was living in sustained happiness. Her prayer life was rich. Her bible reading was alive. And her ministry opportunities were plenteous.
The more she talked, the more I wondered why she was seeing me for counseling. She talked without interruption for 30 minutes about the goodness, bigness, and kindness of God. I was a bit perplexed. It appeared she would be the first counselee to ever come to me because she was too happy.
At some point during her joy-filled monologue, she inserted that she was also on medication. It was a passing comment with no elaboration. She continued to talk for another 30 minutes, and her statement about medications was lost in all her joy-filled blather.
After she left, my counselor-in-training asked me if I heard her say she was on meds. I said that I had, but it got lost in her happy-talk-wind-machine. We both agreed it would be good to bring her back for another appointment and ask her about the medications.
The next week she came in, and I popped the question. I asked the following: “Last week you said you were on medications. Can you tell me more about that?” That was it. That was all I asked.
What followed was stunning. Without hesitating, she began crying and yelling. It was the exact opposite of the emotion she had shown the week before. She cried, elevated her voice, and accused me of insensitivity for fifteen minutes.
It’s my destiny
She interpreted my question as an attempt to take her medications away from her–this was not tenable in her thinking. She said her grandmother and mother were on the same medications. She believed in generational curses.
Though there was no objective evidence to support her claim, she believed this was God’s will for her life and I was the bad guy attempting to take her medications away from her. Honestly, I was only asking a question.
I have never asked anyone to stop taking medications, but she did not know this. Her self-generated faith was so strong in her medications that a suggestion or implication to the contrary was an affront to her.
From her perspective, it was like pushing her out of an airplane without a parachute. God was not helping her overcome her problems. The Spirit was not empowering her in and through her many sanctification issues. The grace of God was not working for her.
It was the meds; they were sustaining her, and I was the meanie who was taking them away. This was a faith issue for her. Her faith in God was not in a grace-giving God, but a med-giving God.
Like Lieutenant Dan from the movie Forrest Gump, this was her destiny. She was in the line of a bunch of cursed people. Though there can be value in medication, she was not coming at it from a biblical perspective. She believed she was cursed.
There is another line of thinking that is similar to generational curses. It’s called genetic determinism. There is some merit in thinking about genetic determinism in the sense we all are wired uniquely and sinfully.
It is also true that because of genetics, it is provable a person should take certain mediations. Because of the fall of Adam, sin has corrupted our genetic makeup and we do have certain proclivities that can be detrimental to our health.
I’ll not elaborate more here since I have discussed this in other articles. You can read those articles on our Membership Site:
Though every person does not come off medication, through ongoing counseling, this lady did go off hers and has been medication-free for over 10 years.
For her, it was not a medication issue, but a poor theology issue. Her problem was not about a genetic predisposition regarding legitimate health issues. She believed she lived under a curse–a cursed Christian.
The idea of generational curses comes from the sermon from Moses when he gave the Decalogue–the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai.
“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.
You shall not bow down to them or 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 the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. – Exodus 20:4-6 (ESV)
In Exodus 34 you’ll read a retelling of the event where God gave Moses the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai. The wording about the generational curses is a little bit different in Exodus 34, but the idea is the same–you sin and you will be cursed and your children, and your children’s children too.
It’s important to read both passages in context to get the full meaning. It’s also important not to take the passages out of context and make an application to yourself that the Bible does not make.
Too often people will read something in the Old Testament and make the assumption God is talking to them and what God said back then stretches to all people, to all times, with no exceptions and it never changes. This is a poor way of interpreting the Bible.
Though God does not change, the way He interacts with His people does change. We see this in the first three chapters of the Bible. Our unchanging God interacted with ever-changing man in two different ways.
In the beginning everything was cool and God, Adam, and Eve had an incredible time together. Turn the page to chapter three and Adam and Eve decided they wanted to go another way–do their own thing. They sinned.
God did not change, but they did. And because they changed, they entered into another kind of relationship with God. Generational curses are not so much about what God will do as it is about what man does.