Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, so a curse without cause does not alight~ Proverbs 26:2 NASB
The word curse or curses is used a total of 178 times in the Bible. The conspicuously large number of times the word is used in both the Old and the New Testaments has led some (both Christian and non-Christian) to believe God is all about cursing anyone who crosses Him. These folks sincerely believe God scans the planet looking for those He can lay a horrible hex on.
In the interest of fairness, I feel the need to point out that the only record I could find of God actually cursing anyone or anything is in the book of Genesis (Genesis 3:16-19). In chapter three God lays out a series of curses related to Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden of Eden.
Issues of fairness aside, the Bible does not hesitate to reference the concept of curses. The better part of Deuteronomy twenty-eight is just one long list of ghastly curses that will befall the Israelite people if they don’t get their spiritual act together and keep it that way. That passage coupled with the many other references to the word beg the question: Does God curse people for doing the wrong thing?
Not that I don’t believe curses are a real thing. There are simply too many biblical references to the subject for a serious Christian to dismiss the whole thing as outdated twaddle or voodoo (Proverbs 3:33, Proverbs 28:27, Hebrews 6:8). That said, God does not curse people willy-nilly simply because they displease or annoy Him.
It’s a bit more complicated than just that.
God has designed the universe in such a way that if we do certain things certain consequences are inevitable. If someone places their hand on a hot stove, pain predictably follows. God does not cause anyone to put their hand on a stove and God certainly does not burn anyone’s hand. Consequences occur because they are built into the design of the universe. God doesn’t curse us. We curse ourselves. Following are four weird ways we bring curses on our own stupid selves.
We curse ourselves when we refuse to break sinful patterns in our family line-
Many believe they are cursed to do stupid stuff because they a had a parent or grandparent or great-grandparent who did stupid stuff. They believe that because some distant relative sinned in some foolhardy way God cursed the entire family line to sin exactly the same way for the rest of history. It is true that patterns of sinful behavior run in families. It is also true that sinful behavior and attitudes can run deep. That said, the Bible makes it clear that God does not hold children responsible for the sins of the parents (Ezekiel 18:1-32). Furthermore, these types of curses are not difficult to break. Once a person repents of a sinful attitude or behavior the curse is broken. Case closed.
We curse ourselves when we harshly judge situations we don’t understand or haven’t lived through–
Back in the day, my husband and I had some friends who were extremely critical and vocal in their criticism of how we parented our oldest daughter. We weren’t strict enough, we let her stay up too late, we let her eat too much candy, we didn’t discipline her enough or in the correct way. We naturally assumed that when these people had kids their kids would be the best behaved, sweetest, most well-mannered children in the history of children. They weren’t. They were awful. Those children were so dreadfully awful both sets of grandparents flat refused to babysit them. I don’t say this to gloat (at least I am trying really hard not to) rather to make a point. When we judge people, we tend to repeat the same sins of the people we judge (Matthew 7:2, Psalm 58:1), typically, we do this without even realizing we are doing it.
We curse ourselves when we choose to become bitter-
Anytime we chose the path of bitterness over the path of forgiveness we are cursed to become exactly like the people we refuse to forgive. I am not entirely certain why or how this happens. That said, I have observed it happen enough times to know it’s a real thing. I suspect we become like the person we are bitter towards because bitterness causes us to become extremely focused (in a very unhealthy way) on that one person. Having so much of our mental energy focused on the negative aspects of one person causes us, over time, to take on the characteristics of that person without being aware of what we are doing. So, if you do not wish to become a mirror image of your gossipy, critical Mother or your angry, alcoholic Father I strongly suggest you forgive immediately (Ephesians 4:31, Hebrews 12:15, Job 21:25).
We curse ourselves when we refuse the Holy Spirit. Anytime God tells us to do anything in His word or the Holy Spirit prompts us to action and we choose to ignore those promptings we curse ourselves. Ignoring the voice of God hardens our hearts (Hebrews 3:7-8, Hebrews 4:7). The harder our hearts become the more difficult it becomes to discern truth from God’s word, to hear His still-small voice or even to care when the Holy Spirit prompts us to action.
That perhaps is the worst curse of all.