|generational sins| die with YOU

Posted on April 11, 2011 by

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There are some sins that sneak up on you and take you by surprise.  And then there are the ones that you can see coming from generations away.

 

There is some controversy when talking about generational sin/curses. There is the camp that takes a page from pop-psychology and uses this concept as an excuse. “Well it’s my ancestors fault and we all have been this way so I guess I just have to live with it.”

 

Then there is the reaction to that view which says that there is no validity to generational sin.

 

Both are wrong.

 

Generational sin is real, but it’s a little more complex than it’s often presented.

 

[5]  “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,”  (Exodus 20:5 ESV)

 

[7] “ keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:7 ESV)

 

[18] ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ (Numbers 14:18 ESV)

 

[9] “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 fourth generation of those who hate me,” (Deuteronomy 5:9 ESV)

 

We get the idea of generational sin from the parts of the bible that mention “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children”. At first glance it looks like God will punish not only the father but his children for his sin.  But God says in

Deuteronomy 24: 16 “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.”

 

So how can both be right? Look again at what is being visited on the children. Iniquity is the act, the sin. God isn’t saying that the children will be punished for the sins of the father. He actually says explicitly that He won’t do that, as we’ve just read. So it is the sin that is visited on the children. Visited? What does that mean? Well it can mean attend to, visit upon/punish, to appoint, assign, lay upon as a charge.

 

So all together we see that, as a part of the father’s punishment, their sin is appointed/assigned to the children. But since we are not punished by God for someone else’s sin, we are responsible for what we do with the sin that has been assigned to us.

 

Now that we have a biblical basis let’s review and move to “How to kill generational sins”.  Generational sins are sins that run in the family and that we are charged with killing, just like all the sin in our lives.

If we have any chance to kill the sins that have plagued our families we need to know what they are. This involves our families being open and honest about the faults and failures of those that have gone before us. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask, it’s as plain as their police record, or your own memories. Other times it’s not obvious and you will have to ask. This seems to be a lot easier to get family to talk about once they are dead. The dead don’t get embarrassed or hurt. So that might be a good place to start, ask about your great grandparents or grandparents.

 

You may find a trend of big things that are easy to spot; theft, adultery, violence. But there are the subtle things that are just as dangerous; pride, neglect, selfishness, distrustfulness, anger, etc…

 

So how do you make sure that these sins die with you?

 

I’ll let you know when I die.

 

Honestly though, it is something that I am working through and struggling with. But we have an advantage with these kinds of sin, we can see them coming and we can learn from the past what has or hasn’t worked. You have to stay on your guard about these things, tell those who know and love you about them so they can hold you accountable. The big ones are easy to write off, “I haven’t had an affair so far”, but there is an attitude and a heart issue that go deeper than the action. These deeper heart issues are the same that manifest in the subtle sins. They are harder to kill but if we don’t then all we have done is suppress the physical action for one generation.

 

The core of killing any sin is to trust in Jesus and walk in His Spirit. If we draw close to God, we will become aware of our sin and be transformed by His power into someone that looks like Him.

 

Be careful to not lay this on your kids, “I’ll make sure THEY never commit this.” God has called YOU to be holy as He is holy, to stop sinning. So don’t trick yourself with the idea that each generation will get better until it’s gone. It needs to Die with YOU. The biggest reason to kill it is because God hates sin and disobedience, and we love Him and want to please him. Another reason is to gift one less sin to your kids. You won’t be perfect, but you can kill the sin that has plagued your family for generations.

Let us not let our sin be our master, God give us the strength to be faithful to you. You are our God and we trust in you.

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Posted in: Praxis, Theology