Many people do not realize that the sins and iniquities of our ancestors affect us.
1. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. “Therefore I bring charges against you again,” declares the Lord. “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.” Jeremiah 2:7,9
2. "Behold, it is written before me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom, both their own iniquities and iniquities of their fathers together," says the Lord. "Because they have burned incense on the mountains and scorned Me on the hills, therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom." Isaiah 65:6-7
3. Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Matthew 23:34-36
4. Our fathers sinned and are no more, but we bear their iniquities. Lamentations 5:7
The results of pronouncing a curse on somebody goes down ten generations.
5. No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation. For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim to pronounce a curse on you. Deuteronomy 23:3-4
Being born illegitimately will affect your descendants for ten generations.
6. A person begotten out of wedlock (one of illegitimate birth) shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall his descendants not enter into the congregation of the Lord. Deuteronomy 23:2
The results of the sin of idolatry goes down three or four generations. An idol is anything that is more important to us than God.
7. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before (besides) me. 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. Deuteronomy 5:6-10
8. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. 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 worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 20:2-6
We are to confess the sins and iniquities of our ancestors. Confess means acknowledge. We confess and repent of our own sins, and ask for forgiveness. Repent means to turn and go in another direction.
9. If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me--then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. Leviticus 26:40,42
10. Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. Nehemiah 9:1-2
11. Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned. Nehemiah 1:6
12. "Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him." Daniel 9:8-11
13. The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations. Exodus 34:6b-7
Not only does sinful behavior affect future generations, but godly behavior does also.
14. The lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. Psalms 103:17-18
15. I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 20:5b-6
16. 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. Deuteronomy 5:9b-10
17. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you. II Timothy 1:5-6a
Notice that Jesus did not tell His disciples that the parents’ sin could not affect this man.
18. As he (Jesus) went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." John 9:1-3
The sin of lying and deception was passed down from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Joseph’s brothers.
The following is a prayer to remove the effects of the sins and iniquities of our ancestors on our lives.
Prayer: Father, I choose to confess the sins and iniquities of my ancestors and I ask for forgiveness, wherever possible, for all generations back in my bloodline. (If you know any of these sins, name them here.) I ask for forgiveness wherever possible for all murders and mistreatments committed by my ancestors upon themselves and others, and I speak blessings over the descendants of these people. I choose to forgive and release my ancestors and not hold them accountable for the way their sins have affected my life. Please forgive me for any way that I have entered into these same sins, having allowed them to influence me. I break every curse that has come upon me because of my ancestors. I cancel all dedications made by my ancestors of their descendants. I renounce the sins of my ancestors and release myself from their effects, based upon what Jesus did when He died on the cross. Jesus took our curses and our sins, and I now receive the freedom from them that He purchased for me. I also receive the blessings and prayers of any godly ancestors that I have had, and I thank you, Lord, for that heritage. I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ and only serve Him as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, amen.
If you know that you have American Indian ancestors, also pray the following prayer.
Prayer (American Indian Heritage): Father, I renounce the sins and idolatry of my Indian heritage. I specifically renounce the dance, the totem, the eagle, the feathers, the dream catcher, the scalper, the chant, the worship of any animals or nature, and all ceremonies honoring other gods. I ask for forgiveness wherever possible for all murders and mistreatments committed by my Indian ancestors and I speak blessings over the descendants of these people. I also ask for forgiveness for anyone who murdered or mistreated my Indian ancestors and release their descendants from being influenced by that. Praise the Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.