Are There Generational Curses?

“… and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” Genesis 27:12

I’m not sure where we Christians get the idea that curses can be passed down. Recently a relative and I were talking about this subject. My relative said that another relative of ours is under the family curse.

I asked, “What curse is that? Nobody told me that we were under a curse.” I’ve never heard this, so I asked, “Where is this written in the Bible?”

Well, I’ve looked through different versions of the Bible and I still haven’t found this teaching on generational curses. There are generational sins but that’s another subject for another day. But, these two are not the same thing at all.

The whole subject came up because of my maternal grandfather. He was born out-of-wedlock to a teenage mom in 1898. My math tells me she was 15 1/2 yrs old when she gave birth to my grandfather in a rural community here in Western North Carolina. His dad was twenty. I’m not sure whether he was married then or not.

She didn’t keep her newborn boy so he was passed around to various family members. Somewhere in there he took his Dad’s last name. Even though, his dad rejected him and never claimed my grandpa as his son. Well, Grandpa looked strikingly similar to his father’s legitimate son so there you have it. And it was then and still is a rural community. No more than a crossroads with a store and a post office.

Now, this young woman had one more son out-of-wedlock about when she turned 18. With that birth she died. It might’ve been because of her experiencing a difficult delivery or her premature death might’ve been the result of catching influenza (flu).

There was no cure for influenza back then. And, there were “mini” outbreaks of it before the 1918 large scale death of the flu that swept across America because troops were trained in large group settings, and then passed through metro areas on their way to Europe. Many people who got it back then died from it.

So, what happened to my Grandpa to bring this idea of curses about? Even I’m not sure how to answer that one. I knew him and am pretty sure he would reject that idea also. Grandpa always had two things nearby that he read: his Bible and their local paper.

He was a WWI Navy veteran that went to the shores of France. After that he came back to WNC and moved to the largest town near where he grew up, Murphy, NC. There he met my Granny and they married about 1920.  They had four children, two sons and two daughters in that order.

I knew him to be a small frame man that might’ve been as tall as 5’6″ and weighed about 140 lbs. A lightweight to be sure, but he was a hard worker.

Both of my grandparents’ sons, my Uncles J. D. and Jack, were much taller and larger bone than their parents.  My mother, named June and her sister my Aunt Mary Jo, were both small frame women.

My grandpa was well educated for his time. A relative had the foresight to send him to Rome, GA to attend Berry’s School for Boys about 1914. There he learned carpentry and farming. Then, he entered the Navy in 1917.

Both he and my Granny were hard-working, honest, Christian people: “salt of the earth” type of folks. Together they made a strong couple. They farmed most all their lives together, which was about forty years.

Grandpa only spoke when he had something to say. He said what he meant and meant what he said. I think that must be a genetic trait because that was my mother’s style of communication, and pretty much mine, also.

His childhood experiences left him somewhat hard to deal with.  But, he lived his life on two main principles: truth and logic. What is the truth here and what is the outcome going to be? Those two qualities worked well for both my grandparents.

In time, they owned about 15 acres that included a small frame house. He and his sons enlarged the house, built an indoor bathroom, and all the family farmed about a quarter of the land. In my early years they still had a horse trained for pulling a plow, but had a tiller also.

My Grandparents saw both of their sons leave to join the Navy during WWII. Amazingly, both came home being in the same physical shape as when they left.

All their children lived by the practicable values they learned from their parents as well. My mother was a down-to-earth woman who was the major influence on us five children. My dad was more of a “think-outside-the box” idealist. He worked long hours honing his sales approach by selling restaurant equipment. And, all that work paid off for them through the years.

An example of that is about 16 years into my parents marriage my dad convinced my mother to follow one of his impracticable dreams of them becoming entrepreneurs. By both following dad’s dream they became wealthy and experienced their own American Dream.

My parents became successful small business owners and, in time, millionaires! Fortunately, my very practical mother controlled the outflow of the money. And, in part, that’s how they stayed wealthy.

I’ve used these principles for my life’s direction as well. No, I’m not a millionaire. Or at least not in monetary terms that is. But, I am known as being an honest, hard-working, Christian woman.

Over forty years ago, I married Jeff, who also shares these principles. We have three beautiful daughters named Ruth, Rachel, and Esther. And two blood grandchildren, and two step grandchildren.  We love them all very much.

Now, my Grandfather had no control over the circumstances that surrounded his birth. He did not choose his parents. No one does, all our parents are chosen for us. Yes his upbringing was harsh. That experience, I believe, left him short-tempered.

But, grandpa, granny, nor any of their four children, and not their seventeen grandchildren, and so on have ever been under a generational curse. That whole idea just doesn’t exist.

Outside of accepting Christ as your personal Savior than you, and I are or were under the curse of sin. That’s the only curse I’m aware of that affects us humans. That curse can be taken away by asking Jesus to come into your heart to take up residence inside you through the Holy Spirit.

I’m still not sure where this generational curse idea developed. It’s not Biblical. Nor is it even practical.

The above verse I chose for this blog shows that we bring either curses or blessings on ourselves. And that’s what I believe.

 

 

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Better Not Bitter

Below is a story of how my maternal grandfather became better, instead of bitter. He was born illegitimately and unwanted. But he grew up to become a caring and responsible husband, and father. He went from being a “Crop Sharer” to owning 15 acres of farmland. And it’s how he accomplished much more than all of that.  He left a legacy that’s lasted well into four generations by now.

I live within fifty miles of where my grandparents were born and raised. And so do many of my relatives. Therefore, I’ve left names out so as not to be in unnecessary conflict with my large extended family members.

My maternal grandfather was born in a very rural part of Western North Carolina, on April 5, 1898. His mother was sixteen and not married.  

After his birth, grandpa was handed over to be raised by other family members on both sides. That may have been the best decision since his mother had few resources to count on. His birth may not have even been welcomed news on her side of the family, because she was a middle child of fourteen children.

The 1900 Census shows his mother as a seventeen-year-old living over in Georgia with relatives. No baby or toddler was mentioned as living with her. (Census is collected the year before it’s published).

His dad had rejected his son, also.  But, apparently not everyone on his father’s side shared those feelings. My grandpa is listed in the 1910 Census as living with his paternal Grandmother in the community he was born in. Grandpa always went by his father’s surname

There must’ve been strong physical similarities between father and son. I’ve seen pictures of my grandfather’s half-brother and both share similar physical features.

Since his dad owned the only store in that community no doubt my grandpa crossed paths countless times in his early childhood with him. Human nature being what it is, I’m sure grandpa being rejected by his father was a difficult emotion for a young boy to bear.

His dad must’ve been a little hard to live with. I’ve found that he was married and divorced twice during his adult life. His head stone shows that he died in his fifties. And is buried in a single grave. No wife is listed on the headstone.  

In my childhood I remembered my grandpa as being stoic in nature.  Even so, he did seem to enjoy our family gatherings at his and granny’s farm. I’m sure us kids got on his nerves, constantly running in and out of their house, but he rarely showed it. He enjoyed sitting alone on his porch swing regardless of the weather. And did so when things got to be too much for him inside the house.

During grandpa’s early teenage years he was sent to live with an uncle just over the state line in GA. He owned a large apple orchard and needed his nephew’s help.

Grandpa didn’t stay long there, though. Within the year he was sent to Berry Boys Industrial School (the forerunner of Berry College). Their records have him listed as being taught carpentry. A skill he would use later in life.  He left Berry around a year later, never having graduated. His name and attendance record were found in their archives.

From there Grandpa joined the Navy and sailed to France. The year was 1917 and America was fighting WW1 on Europe’s Western Front. He’s listed as having served as a machinist on a frigate on his discharge papers.

After the war ended in 1918, my Grandpa found his way back to his birthplace. But why go back there? Grandpa had always been rejected by his father. I know this because I was told when his dad died in 1932, he left nothing but his last name to his illegitimate son.

About 1919, grandpa moved ten miles over to Murphy, NC. By then he was twenty-one, and looking to settle down. And Murphy proved to be just the right place to do that. This is where he met and married my granny. During the twenties, they had their four children. My mother was one of the two middle children.

During the Great Depression my grandparents became crop-sharers. Once, they got established than they became very frugal about all things.  Even so, it took years of “penny pinching,” for them to buy fifteen acres of farmland that included a small house.

In time Grandpa was able to add on to it and included indoor bathroom as well. It became a comfortable spacious one level home. They lived there for the rest of their lives.  

Life was hard for my grandparents. But I never knew them to be bitter about things, though. Instead they grew better about how life had turned out for them.

They never owned a vehicle of any type because grandpa had seizures. He never drove nor had a license. He did do house painting and carpentry when a ride was provided for him, though. Granny worked in mills or babysat children. Those jobs were their only income until they could collect Social Security. Plus, they farmed, raised chickens, and “bartered” whenever they could.

They were blessed in many ways all through their lives. I have many good memories of being at my grandparents’ house. Every family gathering at their house always included cousins, aunts and uncles, and lots of good farm fresh food. In the heat of summer afternoons, all of us kids would gather under a huge Weeping Willow tree at the edge of their yard. That’s where Grandpa would cut each of us a slice of cold juicy watermelon.

Grandpa and Granny were members of a small local church that they walked to on Sundays. They were the “salt of the Earth” kind of folks. They helped their large extended families however they could. All my childhood they seemed contented with what they had accomplished and how life had turned out for them.  

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32