It Runs in my Family!

“Don’t ever argue with a redhead! My mother had the same hot temper as me.”

“Yeah, and us Scottish folks are so cheap! You think I want to drive this old clunker?”

“Well, what about the Irish? You can’t blame me for drinking!”

What do you think? Are the things people say about family traits true? What about the things people say about nationalities and behavioral issues? Are they actually predetermined by genetics?family together

Sure, some things are clearly genetic—hair, skin, and eye color, blood type, and body build spring to mind. Some traits might be partly inherited, like the tendency to become addicted (addictive personality type, according to psychology). But to say you have a problem with anger because of having red hair, or you drink too much because you belong to a certain people group? Nonsense!

These correlations tend to be pure myth, devised by people who were bigoted against the Irish or the Scottish immigrants. Jews were condemned as cheats and the Chinese as heathens. And of course, African slaves were branded stupid and lazy. All due to bigotry.

bigotry to outsider

So why do we brand ourselves with the same false assumptions? It’s often to excuse our bad or out-of-control behavior. If we can blame our heritage, we have a reason for not taking responsibility for our own actions.

I used to say I inherited my overweight body because there were so many overweight people in my extended family. My heritage is mostly Czech/Middle European (“sturdy peasant stock”). When I lost over 70 pounds, I realized I had some seriously bad eating and exercise habits, and had since childhood. Hating myself for all those years didn’t help, either. Between ignorance, stress, and emotional issues, I was pretty much a physical shipwreck, and I didn’t see it until my blood sugar and cholesterol went up.  Anyway, now I realize the truth and (though it isn’t easy) I know what to do to maintain a more healthy weight. And I do it. My weight is below what it was in high school, so you know this has been a lifelong problem.

Do you have any lifelong issues that you tend to blame on your family history? If it involves behavior, chances are it’s not genetic. But if it isn’t simply from your own bad habits, it could very well be spiritual in origin. It could be from generational iniquity. It could be from generational curses, whether you bought into them or not. Or it could be from vows you made.

figure depressed and confusedBelieve me, I understand about emotional issues causing problems with behavior. We’ll talk about those in another series. For now, we’ll delve into the spiritual origins of family-related stuff. There’s an awful lot there.

But I have good news! You’re not just stuck with the iniquities and the vows and the curses.

Stay tuned.

Part 1 of a 4 part series on generational iniquity and generational curses

Part 2| “As the Twig is Bent, so Grows the Tree”

all illustrations courtesy of