Several years after I became a Christian, I was pastoring my secondchurch in Australia. Even though I was born again and a pastor and hadovercome a life of drugaddiction, drug smuggling, and violence, I had an ongoing problem withanger.Anything could set me off, and I would yell and cuss at my wife andchild. Andone day, when my son was 2 or 3, I got angry and shoved him against thewall.The moment I saw him bounce off the wall, I remembered bouncingoff the wall when I was a kid. The wordscame to me: "Like father, like son." I was behaving just like myfather. I was acting out the same things in my family that he did to us.
God had saved me from the drugs, but theunderlying anger was still there, the hidden thing nobody knew. Thiswas a family curse that landed on me--as it says in the Scripture, theiniquityof the father is passed down to the third and fourth generation.
Is this different from negative behavior we learn from ourparents or from a genetic predisposition?
It's the same thing. Some call thesepatterns a physical inheritance. I believe that there's a spiritualinheritance from one generation to the next.
We inherit negative patterns just as we inherit red,hair, freckles, and blue eyes. Whenchildren are illegitimate, their own children will probably beillegitimate. When inmates get out of prison, 85% of them will be backin three years, and their children and their grandchildren will go toprison too. Drug addicts pass on drug addiction. It's not becausethey're bad people. It's not because they make a decision to take drugs.There is a transfer in the spirit realm, a spiritual inheritance.
When you read the Scripture, you see it all over. "Ye shall know thetruth, and the truth shall set you free." Jesus is talking aboutthe spiritual bondage that's on us without him. You're still yoked tothis thing. You can't stop the spirit of the sin from passing to yourchildren.
Oprah writes about this in her magazine, that one of thereasons she didn't want to get married and have children is she sawthrough herwhole family the repeating of negative things from grandmother to mothertodaughter.
You mention the Kennedys in your book. Do you believe in the "Kennedy curse"?
Right when I started writing my book "Free At Last," John F. Kennedy Jr.was killed in aplane crash, and every magazine--Time, Newsweek, People--had on itscover "The Kennedy Curse." We wonder why it is that so many people in that family dieprematurely or get into trouble? It's not because they're bad people oranything like that. This is a spiritual curse. If I could get to oneof the heads of the Kennedy family and they could agree that this is aspiritual transferand realize that the power of God can break it, this family could be setfree forever.
It's not just a Christian thing. Many religions and cultures believe incurses. In Italy you can have a curse put on your family. Australianaborigines, Africa tribes, and Native Americans know you can put a curseon someone. I've been asked by several countries in Africa to come andteach how to break the curse. There can be a curse on a nation. A groupof pastors in Ireland have said "This will stop our wars." I've beeninvited to the Middle East, to Israel in April to teach there. Peoplehate each other and they don't know why.
First, understand that this is in your family. It could be divorce,illegitimacy, suicide. One woman I counseled had five aunts whocommitted suicide in the last 50 years. The first step is to recognizethat the destructive patterns exist.
Then, be aware that you're not a bad person; this is something you'veinherited.
Know that God loves you. He isn't mad at you. Say "I come in agreementwith you that this negative spirit is broken, and in its place I receivethe positive." If there's anger you receive peace; if there's addictionyou receive freedom.
When a vessel is empty, it has to be filled up. So many people dothings to rid themselves of bad habits. But they don't replace it withGod. They don't understand that we're clay vessels that hold the spiritof life. We go to marriage counseling, to smoking programs. We get ridof the bad, but we don't know to now fill it with a positive spirit.That negative spirit sees your vessel is empty, and it comes back in. Weend up seven times worse than we were before. It's like losingweight--people gain it all back plus 20 pounds more. Because you need toreplace it with peace and joy, and love and belief in your future--allthe good things that God's spirit has for you. You have to see yourselfthe way God sees you.
I pump people up with their possibilities, with their destinies. We lookat the problem, rather than the size of the problem. When Israel sawGoliath, they were afraid because of his size. But David wasn't, and hecould overcome the giant. Start saying, today is going to be a greatday; I'm a winner, not a loser. I know it sounds corny, but to break a curse you'refilling your vessel up with what God wants for you.