Forgiving Through the Generations:Breaking the Chains of the Past
This is part one of a four-part article on Forgiving Through the Generations: Breaking the Chains of the Past and Destroying Bitter-Root Judgments to Break The Chains of the Past.
When I became a Christian I was convicted of many sins that I had committed. I went through a very long season of confessing and repenting of my sins and asking God for forgiveness. As I was focusing on my sins, I realized that other members of my family were struggling with some of the same sins.
As individuals and families, my extended family had committed many generational sins over the years. What is generational sin? It is disobeying God’s commandments by sinning against His laws. It is also worshipping anything other than God, which is idolatry. Generational sins are weaknesses or tendencies that are handed down to us through the generations from parents or members of our family. These sins can involve behavioral patterns and ways of thinking that keep us trapped in the past.
I am very blessed to come from a large family on my mother’s side of our family. My maternal grandmother was one of nine children and my maternal grandfather was also one of nine children. My grandparents and their siblings were born in the late eighteen hundreds and the early nineteen hundreds. My ancestors were very hard working people.
Within our family there were soldiers, farmers, blacksmiths, carpenters, preachers, mechanics, architects, saddle makers, and many dedicated mothers. Every one of my ancestors made their own way and earned their money in difficult times. They were basically good people who persevered through many agonizing years of personal and financial difficulties. Many of my ancestors were loving, steadfast, courageous, faithful, realistic and practical people. They did the best that they could do in the circumstances of their lives.
Because sin can be passed down through the generations, each person is responsible for his or her personal sins against the Lord. Ezekiel 18:30-32 says, “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each one in accordance with his conduct,” says the Lord GOD. “Repent (change your way of thinking) and turn away from all your transgressions, so that sin may not become a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions, which you have committed [against Me], and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live!” (AMP)
Some of the generational sins that have had a hold on my family members over the years are unforgiveness, lying, bitterness, fear, worry, judgment, resentment, pride, rejection, envy, jealousy, anger, abuse, covetousness, doubt, unbelief, rebellion, drunkenness, manipulation, greed, lust, idolatry, fornication, adultery, hatred, molestation, incest and revenge.
There are many different kinds of patterns of generational sins. Once a sin pattern begins in a family, it can continue and multiply among the family members. It can last for many generations and can become a stronghold and a stumbling block for the whole family. This article will continue in Part Two with three examples of generational sin from the Old Testament and the consequences of those sins.