I struggled for many years with pornography. It seemed like the harder I tried to stop, the more I failed.
Oftentimes I wondered if I had committed blasphemy, or even questioned my salvation — anything to explain why the Lord would not deliver me from my addiction. Based on what I’d heard at church, I tried to figure out what was really the problem. The best explanation was that I was cursed. I could easily look at my family’s history in previous generations and gather all the issues related to sex and conclude that it was similar with what I was dealing with. Considering I couldn’t get out of this habit, this made sense. But how do I break this “curse”?
Like many people in my shoes, I didn’t know the Bible well. Or I knew the Bible; I just didn’t believe it. My belief in generational curses became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Thinking that your addiction is a generational curse makes you more comfortable knowing why you’re wired the way you are. I didn’t become addicted the first time I saw porn. It was a process. That’s not a generational curse, that’s reaping and sowing.
The basis of generational curses comes from Exodus 20:5 where it says:
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
But I wish when people read that verse, they would continue reading because in the following verse it says:
but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
So in other words, God’s grace is a thousand times greater than His judgments. And as we read in Judges 3:9, God forgave and delivered Israel when they finally repented.
The “cure” for a generational curse has always been repentance. At salvation you become reconciled to God, became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1). You can’t be a child of God and still be under God’s curse.
So where did that leave me? Why was I struggling? Because I believed a lie. I believed that I had no control over what I was dealing with. I was searching for something other than the Gospel to heal me.
If I really look at my family history, alcoholism would be a better candidate for a generational curse. But I never struggled with alcohol. Why is that? When I was a kid, I saw my dad fall and fall again to alcohol. My mother and he fought day and night, and our family suffered for it. As a kid, before I knew Christ, I said to myself, I will never struggle with alcohol. I will not be like my father. My family will not struggle like this.
I spoke a truth which formed an identity in myself that has lasted to this day. Yes, I did come across alcohol a lot, mainly at college, but it was never a temptation because I knew that alcohol would not be part of my story. So that generational “curse” had no effect on me.
A common theme I hear from men who are sexually addicted is that their fathers struggled with this and so have they. And they want to get ahold of this so they don’t pass this on to their children. Like them, I always felt that there was some external force keeping me addicted. I figured “The Gospel + 12 Steps (or any type of recovery ministry) = Healthy Soul.” I was wrong. Twelve-step programs and other programs are all tools that fall under the Gospel. Little did I know the solution was in me all along.
I want to equip my children with the knowledge of sin and the principle of reaping and sowing. I struggled with porn and sex not because my father had a lust problem, but because I made a decision. And each time I came across anything that tempted me, I made the same decision over and over. It took time. If my children become addicted to porn, that is not my fault. They make a decision. They must own their own brokenness. The likelihood of them coming across porn in their life is big. But I want to educate them that just like they encounter any other temptation in life, it doesn’t have to be their destiny.
In the end, the recovery programs tricked me. I thought I was going in to be “fixed.” All those lies and strongholds I had that I couldn’t get out were completely weakened as I humbled myself and submitted to my recovery leaders. I diligently worked out my issues and leaned on God’s Word. I trusted and obeyed until it was fully revealed to me and my identity was fortified.
The woman caught in adultery was asked by Jesus, “Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” Imagine the freedom she felt when Jesus said, “Then neither do I condemn you.”
You are not cursed. Go forth and walk in the freedom that Christ has paid for you.
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