Q & A With Sister Swaggart - II
Is there such a thing as a family or generational curse?
The answer is yes. There are all kinds of curses on people—on people who don’t know the Lord—and these troubles can destroy entire families, which leads some to believe in “generational” curses. Daily we hear of the damage:
“Down through the years, several of the men in my family—all unsaved—have committed suicide.”
“My great-grandfather was an alcoholic, so was my father, and now I drink, too.”
“My temper gets the best of me. Is this because my mother’s family was so abusive?”
A curse of some kind has been the common lot of man ever since the garden of Eden. Because of Adam’s sin, God placed a curse on the serpent and on the ground (Gen. 3:14, 17). He also placed a curse on Cain because he killed Abel: “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand” (Gen. 4:11).
A curse was a characteristic entity—a power, force, or energy—that expressed itself in hurt to man or damage to property. It was to be feared and shunned. Even a man or a place could become a curse:
Jacob feared invoking a curse on himself by deceiving his father (Gen. 27:12).
Jeremiah said a curse was on Zedekiah and his house, and on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah (Jer. 24:9; 25:18; 42:18; 44:8, 12, 22; 49:13).
Peter, in confusion, invoked a curse upon himself (Matt. 26:74).
And Jesus said that those unfit for the kingdom would be cursed at the judgment: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).
The Curse Of The Broken Law
In Galatians 3:13, the apostle Paul tells us that every person who has ever lived, with the exception of Christ, was born under the curse of the broken law. Before the law was given, this was true in a sense as it regards original sin. Mankind, born in original sin, is automatically under a curse.
In Genesis 3, the Lord told Eve He would greatly multiply her sorrow, and He told Adam, “cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.”
Some 2,500 years after the fall, the law of God was given to Moses, and it contained both blessings and curses. The blessings are found in Deuteronomy 28:1-14. The curses are found in Deuteronomy 27:14-26. The world today pays no heed to the law of God, but whether people realize it or not, since the law was given, every human being is under the curse of the broken law.
Keeping Curses Or Commandments?
So what are preachers talking about as it regards the family curse? Most take their text from the following verses:
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Ex. 20:4-5).
Now this passage is most definitely correct, and it means exactly what it says, but there is a qualifier: “of them that hate me.” If succeeding generations continue to hate the Lord, then the curse will definitely continue upon them, whatever that curse might be. However, when a person comes to the Lord, he certainly does not hate the Lord. When a person is born again, he is overcome with the love and mercy of God, which we find in the very next verse: “And showing mercy unto thousands of them who love Me and keep My commandments” (Ex. 20:6).
Since Jesus perfectly kept all of the Commandments, our faith in Him makes us perfect law keepers too. That means when a person accepts Christ, the curse stops.
Ministers who teach on family or generational curses claim the reason that believers are having problems is because their great-grandfather or somebody back in their lineage committed some terrible sin, and now the judgment of that sin has been passed on to them, despite the fact that they are born again. To be free of such a curse, they recommend that the believer have hands laid on him by a preacher who understands these things and can rebuke the family curse. Listen, there is absolutely nothing in the Word of God that supports any of this.
In Ezekiel’s day, many in Israel were claiming the same thing as some of today’s preachers. They hadn’t failed the Lord in any way, they said, and any judgment they were experiencing was because of sins that their fathers had committed. But here’s what Lord had to say about it: “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).
And in Deuteronomy 24:16, we read: “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”
Only One Way Of Escape
How does one escape the curse of the broken law? There is only one way: acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s Savior and Lord (Rom. 5:1-2; 10:9-10, 13; Eph. 2:8-9).
Paul said, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law (He did so on the cross), being made a curse for us (He took the penalty of the law, which was death): for it is written, Cursed is every one who hangs on a tree (Deut. 21:22-23): That the blessing of Abraham (justification by faith) might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ (what He did at the cross); that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (All sin was atoned at the cross which lifted the sin debt from believing man, making it possible for the Holy Spirit to come into the life of the believer and abide there forever [John 14:16-17])” (Gal. 3:13-14) (The Expositor’s Study Bible).
Again, there is absolutely no way out of this curse that God was forced to place on the human race—because of sin—except to be truly born again and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. In fact, that’s what the term born again actually means, “a complete break from the past, the present, and the future, as it has been, as it is, and as it shall be.” The moment that’s done, every single curse is abrogated. Not a single curse remains, not even a trace of one. Every curse was addressed at the cross of Calvary.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).