“As the Twig is Bent, so Grows the Tree”

Iniquity – what a weird word. What could this Old Testament term possibly have to do with modern folks?


In simplest terms, iniquity means bent. Literally, it means crookedness, perverseness, or moral distortion. crooked tree I’m sure you’ll agree we see plenty of that today! Whole families can suffer the effects of what becomes generational iniquity.

So, if someone in your family history caused a “bending” of the family tree, it was the beginning of generational iniquity. This could have been from an ancestor being violent and his kids following his path, adopting the mindset that this was acceptable behavior. It could have been an ancestor who was a cult member, especially if he was in some sort of authority in that cult. His activity would have opened spiritual doors that let evil permeate his immediate family and trickle down to his descendants.

God says in Exodus 20:5 and Deuteronomy 5:9 that the iniquity of the fathers will be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation. Does this mean God punishes the children for sins they never committed? No. It means that the iniquity that comes from repeated sin will pass down the generations until someone calls a halt. It’s a natural law of consequences.

money treeThe passages I mentioned refer specifically to idolatry. Idolatry in these times? Of course. What else would you call the worship of self that is so prevalent? Or, the worship of wealth or celebrity or status?


The worship of self rears its ugly head in lots of ways. Child abuse and abortion—the parent thinks more of his own needs than those of the child. Embezzlement and theft—“I am more important that anyone else.” Murder—the killer believes he has more of a right to life than his victim. You get the picture.

A person who is on trial for assault or murder will often use the defense of an abusive childhood. He isn’t far wrong in one respect: the sins of the fathers show up in the lives of the children, and not just because of the bad examples of behavior. It’s ingrained. It’s a spiritual stronghold. It’s idolatry that has become generational iniquity. However, even in cases of generational iniquity and generational curses, each individual is still responsible for his own actions.

If someone feels inwardly compelled to a certain bad behavior, it is his responsibility to not only resist, but to negate the generational iniquity that compels him. It usually doesn’t take spreading treemuch except simple observation to decide what the iniquity is. If rage or alcoholism or rebellion seems to be a family trait, it’s probably a generational iniquity.

Breaking agreement with a generation iniquity is quite easy. Simply declare that, in the name of Jesus, you renounce all ties and agreements with whatever it is. Repent for your own actions and attitudes that have perpetuated the iniquity. And then declare you are free from it, and that it ends with you.

Be aware that the behavior has become habitual, so reject the behavior whenever it tries to return. If you stumble, pick yourself up, repent, and go on from there. God forgives all our iniquities (Psalm 103:2-3).

You can overcome this, because you have broken the spiritual bondage of the iniquity.

part 2 of a 4 part series on generational iniquity and generational curses

part 1| It Runs in my Family!

Part 3|Do You Need a Tree Surgeon?

all illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net