American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens bases most of his music on his experience of abandonment as a child. His life and artistry revolve around it. Thus we see that a person’s experiences with their families are fundamental to their development and to their own choices. Sin is notorious for breaking down relationships. Often the devil starts his attacks with the first and most intimate relationship: the family.
Out of the lineage of liars, prostitutes, and sinners, including David and Bathsheba, Jesus was born.
Most of us have come across the principle of a generational curse. A generational curse is a sin that perverts a family’s line; the parents commit a sin, their children commit the same sin, and so forth. Exodus 34:7 reads, “He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation” (NIV). Some believe that means that God will directly penalize children for the transgressions of their parents. This seems like a cruel and unusual act for a God of love.
On the contrary, Ezekiel 18:4 reads, “For all people are mine to judge— both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die” (NLT). While God disciplines only the one who has sinned against Him, the sins of one’s father often permeate the family, damaging relationships and perpetuating itself among one’s children.
For this reason, children often suffer from their parents’ mistakes, leading them to make the same mistakes in the future. In Sufjan Stevens’s life and in the lives of many in the Bible, such as David and Bathsheba, we see examples of children paying for their parents’ choices.
David sinned against the Lord by sleeping with Bathsheba. As a result of this, Bathsheba’s grandfather, Ahithophel, advised David’s son Absalom to rebel against his father, a rebellion that cost him his life. David paid dearly for his sins, the consequences of which bled into the lives of his children. The beauty of the story is that it didn’t end that way. Out of the lineage of liars, prostitutes, and sinners, including David and Bathsheba, Jesus was born. Yet Jesus lived His life free of sin, ending all generational curses as well as cycles of sin and abuse present in His family. Jesus offers us adoption into His family so that our own family demons can be defeated. As a part of Jesus’ family, we are no longer haunted by the sins of our fathers; instead, Jesus offers us new life in Him.