As a missionary I can say that curses are real and in some cases they are even lethal; Ezekiel talks of magic charms that hunted lives (Ezekiel 13:18-20). Curses are on the rise in Western culture as people dabble more and more in the occult and in organizations where people take secret oaths that invoke curses (such as the Masons). Emotionally curses produce deep confusion and despair and an inability to think straight.
[There is not a lot of good literature on the topic of curses and all such books need to be read critically and subjective material carefully evaluated. Derek Prince’s book “Curses and Blessings” is reasonable, Ed Murphy’s chapter is good but gives no hint on how to break curses, and Francis Frangipane has some very good books on living in the place of protection from curses and spiritual attack.]
On one hand we do want to acknowledge the reality of curses and to deal with them and to break them on the other hand we do not want to become overly superstitious and fearful seeing curses everywhere. If your life is affected by sterility, barrenness, constant lack of success and failure to gain any sort of ascendancy no matter how hard you try then a curse may be in operation. If you think this may be the case then do some research on your life and family history and take the matter before the Lord.
The good news is that breaking curses can be surprisingly easy for Christians because we dwell under the protection of the blood of Jesus Christ. Curses have greatest power where the person who has been cursed has committed some great act of wickedness such as involvement in the occult. The reverse is also true, curses have little or no power over a righteous person and Proverbs says that a curse without cause will not alight on the head of a righteous man.
Curses may come upon you because of your own conduct because of : idolatry, participation in the occult, prostitution, fornication, sexual immorality, adultery, theft, injustice, direct defiant disobedience to God in an important area, and involvement in secret societies with rituals and vows.
Curses may be aimed at you by others because of: hatred, envy, greed, jealousy, the use of magic, spiritual conflict and the desire for revenge. In some cases parents curse their children, particularly the first-born son, in order to attain pwoer in a deal with Satan or his representatives. This is said to occur in Masonic rituals.
Preventing Curses Having An Effect On Your Life
Scripture reveals a number of ways in which we can break curses and/or be protected from them
1) Live a righteous life free from major sin and acts of injustice. Abide in the righteousness of Christ where no curse can penetrate. (Malachi 4:6, Proverbs 26:2, Romans 8).
2) Put on the full armor of God in Ephesians 6 :10-21 which is actually armor against spiritual attack. Ephesus was noted for its magic practices (Acts 19) and its curses and witchcraft. The primary purpose behind Paul writing to the Ephesians was so they could have some understanding of their power, authority and degree of protection in their pagan and occult city. The armor of God is like the Kevlar of the spirit world protecting the Christian against curses, magic and occult practices.
3) God is able to turn a curse into a blessing. He did this when Balak tried to get Baalam to curse Israel. (Nehemiah 13:2, Deuteronomy 23:5, Numbers 22&23). A brief prayer by Jabez that has received a lot of popularity lately is a case of a person appealing to God to have a curse turned into a blessing and succeeding. David is particularly bold when he says in Psalm 109 where he seems to have been the victim of a curse (see verses 17 & 18) (Psalms 109:28 NKJV) Let them curse, but You bless; When they arise, let them be ashamed, But let Your servant rejoice. David did not fear the curse, but instead asked God to bless him and outdo the curse, and then to turn the curse back on those who uttered it.
God can out-bless the most fearsome and disabling curses. It gives us hope that our prayers to God based on the name of Jesus can not only break curses but have them turned into blessings instead.
4) Understand and plead the fact that Christ has taken all the curses due to us when He became a curse on the cross (Galatians 3:10-14). In Christ that ground for curses to succeed against us is removed because on the cross Jesus became a curse for us and took all the cursing that may have been due to us due to our violation of God's laws.
5) Break associations with the sins of parents and ancestors particularly those involving the occult or idolatry. Exodus 34:6,7 says such sins bring a curse "to the third and fourth generation". We have to break ties with such sins by not participating in occult ceremonies that may be traditional and even confessing such involvement of your parents and ancestors and forsaking them in a prayer of renunciation to God. The essential thing is to make a clear break with the familial sin in your own heart, mind and spirit.
6) Get rid of objects that bring a curse particularly objects associated with pagan worship, idolatry or the occult. For instance if we have our Grandmothers pack of tarot cards we need to get rid of them. (Deuteronomy 7:25,26) The Ephesian converts were moved by the Holy Spirit to burn their magic scrolls and occult objects. (Acts 19:18-20).
7) Do not engage in secretive or dishonest sins that you think you can get away with unobserved. In Deuteronomy 27: 15-26 certain sins are singled out as bringing a curse notably the making of idols, incest, bestiality, treating parents with contempt, injustice against migrants, widows, the disabled or the poor, hiring a contract killer, and moving your neighbors landmark or boundary stone. Most of these are crimes that would never be tried in court because of the secret nature of the crimes, the lack of two or three eye witnesses willing to testify or the difficulty of proving of the case such as the “my word against yours’ case of the boundary stone. The curse was God’s way of making sure that such secret crimes did not go unpunished. People knew that if they did these things God would repay. Even in the New Testament God is referred to as the one who punishes those who defile the marriage bed. (1 Thessalonians 4:4-6, Hebrews 13:4). If you have done any of the things in the above list then repentance, restoration and an earnest appeal to God for mercy would be a good starting point in breaking the curse over your life.
8) Curses can alight where there is deep abiding injustice against an ethnic group. Saul’s bloodthirsty massacre of the Gibeonites, which lay uncorrected for years, later resulted in a curse and a famine in the time of David.
(2 Samuel 21:1 NKJV) Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, "It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites."
David broke this curse by going back to the offended ethnic group, humbly asking how they would like to see justice done and then enacting it. After ten of Saul’s sons were hung the famine ended. (2 Samuel 21:1-14).
9) Slackness in ministry can result in a curse. The priests in Malachi were under a curse because of their slackness in God's work (Malachi 2:2 ) and the prophet Jeremiah cries out "cursed be he who is slack in doing the Lord's work (Jeremiah 48:10). If you are in ministry do the work of the Lord diligently and obey His specific instructions if you have been given such instructions.
10) Put God’s interests ahead of your own. In the book of Haggai God puts a curse on the nation (Haggai 1:5-11, 2:16,17 )for being self-centered and neglectful of their duty to God. The curse is removed when the people obey the prophets and lay the foundation on the Lord's temple (Haggai 2:18,19) and a blessing is given instead.
There are over 200 verses on curses in Scripture and the above list just touches on some of the main causes and their remedies. Basically a curse can only alight on an area that God has already judged as being worthy of a curse – such as incest , idolatry or murder. Most curses generally last only 3-4 generations though some have lasted since Creation. Repentance from sin, breaking ties with the occult and taking refuge in Christ who has become a curse for us are the main strategies we can use to break curses.
Part of this is putting on the whole armor of God, which is designed to protect us from curses leveled against us in the course of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). When the curse is lifted then the human spirit that has been affected by the curse and been bowed down with pain, confusion and futility will be quickly healed. The person will recover and emotional normality should soon follow.