The Fayette Citizen-Religion Page
Wednesday, July 28, 1999
Break the 'sins of the father' curse with rightousness, obedience

Religion Columnist

The Kennedy curse? Don't know if there is anything to do with a specific Kennedy curse, but the Word of God clearly indicates that the sins of the father will be visited upon the third and fourth generations. No commentator in the last two weeks even hinted at the sins of Joseph P. Kennedy, the patriarch who, prior to World War II, served as our ambassador to Great Britain.

I've seen in recent years television documentaries that have pretty well documented his philandering ways, which he also entrusted to his sons. Also, it's well known that the senior Kennedy made much of his money by criminal running rum during prohibition. God's Word says it and I believe it: in reference to serving idols, God says, “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” (Exodus 20:5).

Through sin, rebellion, and disobedience, fathers curse their own children, whom they love with all their heart. We can't blame or credit God for the curse. The curse is a father's own doing. You see, iniquity has tremendous modeling and duplication power. You can witness it in the children of alcoholics. As much as a child hates the drunkenness of a father (in most cases) and as much as the child promises to himself that he will never be like his father, invariably that child must deal with alcohol in his personal life - often becoming the very thing he hates.

If a child sees a parent regularly use deception and chicanery, often he will adopt that lifestyle for himself and rarely see anything wrong with it. The sins of the father passed along to their child. Yet, amid this gloomy stuff, I have two big bits of good news.

The first is that no one has to serve as a passive host for sin from one generation to another. Just because your father sinned and conducted his life recklessly before God, you don't have to! You can break the “curse” by taking a stand for righteousness. President John Kennedy could have broken away from the generational sin style of his father. Rather, his choice was to sustain it. Senator Edward Kennedy could have broken away also. Yet, we know only too well about his womanizing ways.

No one has to be eternally held captive by iniquity. That's what the cross of Christ was about - breaking the rule of sin through the shedding of the blood of the son of God. But you have to be intentional about renouncing the former lifestyle and receiving Christ into your life.

The second big bit of good news is that righteousness and obedience hold more futuristic power than unrighteousness. God says that he will “show lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:6). Whereas iniquity can extend to the third and fourth generation, righteousness has its serendipitous blessings unto a 1000 generations.

So, if you and I really want to pass on a legacy that will outlast anyone even remembering our name, embrace, embody, and emulate righteousness and obedience. Amen! That's cool!

The Rev. Dr. John Hatcher is pastor of River's Edge Community Church in Fayetteville.

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