Question: Are we responsible for the sins committed by our ancestors? |

TBC Staff

Question: Are we as believers and non-believers responsible for the sins committed by our past generation family members? Does God really allow the past sins of parents/grandparents/great grandparents to affect the life of us, our children, and grandchildren? [Composite of responses by Dave Hunt]

Response: The covenant of the Lord with Israel included blessings and curses; obedience brought blessings and breaking the law brought curses. Even though the sins committed by God’s covenant people would reap destructive consequences throughout generations, nevertheless God’s justice, grace, and mercy were made manifest to the individual. The entire chapter of Ezekiel 18 addresses that fact: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. [But] the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon [the righteous], and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon [the wicked]” (Ezekiel:18:20).

Simple logic tells us that probing into the past to uncover “lost memories” of former traumas, as in psychotherapy or the Christian brand known as “inner healing,” is a vain pursuit for two reasons: 1) One can never be sure of the accuracy of such memories, due to a lack of objective verification; and 2) If one “lost memory” could have such a heavy influence upon the person’s thinking, emotions, and conduct, who can say that there may not be other “memories” of equal or greater importance that likewise need to be recovered and “worked through” endlessly? Moreover, this practice clearly violates the biblical injunction, “forgetting those things which are behind” (Philippians:3:13—emphasis added), and inhibits pressing “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (v. 14).

So it is with generational curses. If these actually exist, then we face the hopeless task of digging them all out. How far back does one attempt to go? Surely there are hidden sins in the ancestry of everyone. My father was from England and my mother, though Canadian, had similar ancestry. Who knows what involvement with Druids lies hidden in my genealogy! My father’s mother was from Norway, so the worship of Nordic demons must also permeate my background. I could never uncover it all. 

To search for occult influences in the past as though they had some power over which one needs to be delivered is the same violation of “forgetting those things which are behind.” In addition, all of the above deny the basic fact that the Christian’s sins were laid upon Christ and paid for by Him; he has been born again by faith in Christ, “old things are passed away...all things are become new” (2 Corinthians:5:17). Let us therefore “go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works....” (Hebrews:6:1).