As a little girl, I remembered hearing some of the older folks speaking about people who had a family curse on them. Or persons who were paying for the sins of their family.
I remember clearly being enraptured in those conversations and not fully understanding why that person was paying for anyone else’s sin.
As I have grown older, I still hear people speaking about it but never had a mind to truly dig deeper into it until a few months back. A young man’s family from my local church have been struggling with many different issues. The family’s name came up in a recent prayer session and someone remarked: “Poor X family, they are paying for the sins of their ancestors.”
I felt stumped. How do I pray for this type of situation?
I looked to the Bible for answers.
The Bible has several references to children paying for their ancestor’s sins. The books of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy all have some form of reference to the below verse and its language:
“‘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)
As alarming as this is though, I took comfort that I couldn’t find any variation to this in the New Testatement. So much so that in Jeremiah 31:30-33 it states:
“Instead, everyone will die for their own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge.
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.””
And in John 9:1-3 Jesus noted when asked about a blind man:
“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Do you feel that you or someone you know is paying for the sins of their family? Pray. Pray and seek God’s guidance in this situation. Find peace and comfort in HIS Word to know that with HIS new covenant, we are no longer paying for other sins, but our own. And in cases, as the blind man noted in John 9, the problems we may be seeing now in our life is to bring God glory.
Food for thought: Take heart. God has not forsaken you. God has a plan for you and your future. To God be the glory.
Prayer: God love and justice. We pray for those that are suffering. Grant them thy loving peace and comfort. May you give them the grace, strength, and courage to finish the race and finish well. To God be the glory. Amen
May God’s grace, mercy, and peace be with you.