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Poverty and Generational Sin

• Greg Boyd

Generational sin is the ongoing effect of hurtful behavior that passes on from parents to their children. Not only do the children have to deal with this sin, but God too works with us to overcome these effects of past wrong-doings on our lives.

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Generational sin is the ongoing effect of hurtful behavior that passes on from parents to their children. Not only do the children have to deal with this sin, but God too works with us to overcome these effects of past wrong-doings on our lives.

Early on in the sermon, Greg stated an important assumption: “Everyone is morally responsible for their own behavior, yet what we and God have to deal with may have its origin in sins committed many generations ago.” He went on to catalog some of the very serious generational sin that we have inherited here in America.

Greg focused on the statistical disadvantages of being black or of American Indian primarily because the facts are so clear in these two cases. Statistics show that poverty, violence, rates of imprisonment, substance abuse and suicide rates are much higher than they are for whites. To explain this, you really have only two choices. Either these groups of people (African Americans and American Indians) are simply regularly making much worse individual choices or their histories have something to teach us.

Obviously, it is the history that explains the current situation. American Indians have been systematically oppressed ever since white people came to America. Greg went into some depth explaining this and what the effects are. Likewise, African Americans were captured and brought to America against their will and used as slaves for generations. This takes an immeasurable toll on any group of people that are abused in this way.

Any choices we make in our lives are made within the context described above. This makes a huge difference in terms of what the statistical outcomes will be. What we all CAN do is wake up to the situation, proclaim the truth, expose the lies and live in the freedom Christ died to give us. This is why we ended the sermon with a proclamation of truth and freedom.

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Topics: Free Will, Poverty, Sin

Sermon Series: Compassion by Command


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Focus Scripture:

  • Exodus 20:5

    You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

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