The word of the LORD came to me: "What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:
" `The fathers eat sour grapes,
and the children's teeth are set on edge'?
"As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die. Ezekiel 18:1-4
"Yet you ask, `Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. Ezekiel 18:19,20
I am in no way saying that curses do not exist; missionaries encounter them all the time. Village witchdoctors curse them for spreading the gospel, trying in vain to stop their preaching. I’ve been in at least one such setting myself and know that God is more powerful.
No, I’m referring to the teaching that, because of the second commandment, God curses, even those who follow him with a pure heart, because of the sins their parents, grandparents even great grandparents committed.
In the first place, the commandment says that the curse is upon those who hate him, not those who love him. Besides, it says that he’ll “show love to a thousand generations of those who love” him. A thousand generations can certainly out-distance four generations.
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6
In the second place, we who are disciples of Jesus are not under the Law. Jesus became a curse for us and fulfilled the Law. (Gal. 3) “It is finished.”
In the third place, not even the Israelites in Ezekiel’s time were expected to live by that part of the commandment. God even rebuked them for following it. (Ezekiel 18) One person countered that only certain sins are relieved from this curse but gave no scriptural backup for his assertion.
When I point out this freeing information to people, they invariably send me articles or point me to the same prominent book by a well-known author—but not to the Bible. They don’t point me to the Bible because they can’t. Or they try to explain away what the Bible clearly says. I’ve read the articles and the book. On this point, these don’t point to the Bible either—except for the second commandment. One person shrugged it off as “doctrine” and extraneous—that what mattered was prayer. The word doctrine means, that which is taught. It matters what you’re taught (and teach) and it matters what you believe. Much valuable time is lost when one prays and believes the wrong thing and in doing so follows the Law of Moses.
Many launch into an example of alcoholism being a “generational curse” and cite the second commandment as the connection. Think about it—that would mean that if your dad were an alcoholic, God would curse you to make you an alcoholic, too. So, I see two ways to look at their assertion: 1. God made you do it; it’s his will and you can’t help yourself or 2. It’s a sin and God is perpetuating sin. (My point is not to get into a debate about the origins of alcoholism but to address the example most often cited.) My grandfather was an alcoholic but that doesn’t mean that I am or that I have to be (and no, I didn’t go through any kind of ritual to break off a curse nor will I). If it’s a sin (any kind of sin), you do whatever it takes to avoid that sin. If it’s a weakness, the same thing applies.
If it’s curses from God that you want to avoid—don’t try to be justified by following the Mosaic Law or require others to do so!
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." Galatians 3:10,11
You are not bound by a curse from God! If you are a follower of Jesus, you are set free from the Law of Sin and Death!