“For I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Deuteronomy 5:9–10, ESV).
If we’re going to change, we have to think differently, and if we’re going to think differently, we have to talk about the strongholds of family dysfunction. This is the stuff that affects “children to the third and fourth generation” in families. Deuteronomy 24:16 tells us there are no consequences for generational sin, but Deuteronomy 5:9 gives us the hard news that there are inherited inclinations. In other words, you’re not responsible for your ancestors’ sins, but you may be strongly affected by them. Because of how your father or mother or grandparents struggled—because of sin in your family’s past—you have temptations, susceptibilities, vulnerabilities, chains: strongholds.