“When Does It Stop?” – Breaking The Cycle of Sin


It is something I learned from my grandfather’s preaching while I was growing up: Sin cycles.

You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.…

(Exodus 20:5-6)

Recently, All For God Ministries shared a powerful clip from Jackie Francois-Angel on their Facebook page which witnessed to this reality (unfortunately I can’t embed the video here because it is a Facebook video…c’mon Facebook!).

“If you were abused,” she says, “you’re more likely to abuse…” Divorce, pornography, anger, etc., — all of these sins have a tendency to be passed down through generations, and from perpetrator to victim, creating a kind of cycle of sin.

To be honest, I was always a bit freaked out by hearing this.  And on the one hand, it is scary.  Look around at all the junk in the world and you can see the grim reality of the cycle of sin.  Doesn’t it seem hopeless at times?

Better not accumulate any baggage, I used to think when the topic of generational sin would come up.  And better find someone to marry who doesn’t have any, either, or else our kids will pay the price. 

Of course that is not really the point.  In reality we are all born into the cycle of sin.  We all bear the original sin of our first parents, and each of us is affected in some way by the choices–good or bad–of the families to which we belong.

Yes, all sin hurts us, and if we do nothing, the cycle of sin can destroy us and even threatens to rip our families apart.

But it’s not hopeless.  Thanks to Jesus, we get a choice.

“When does it stop?”  My grandpa would say when he would preach on this, “It stops when someone stands up and claims the Holy Spirit as Lord of the family.”  It stops when we, as Jackie says in the clip, “plant the Cross of Christ in our hearts,” and decide we don’t want it anymore.  It stops when we realize that we cannot break free from the cycle on our own, but that Jesus wants to—and actually can—free us.

So we ask the Holy Spirit to be real in our lives.  We begin to follow Jesus with the conviction that He is alive and actually working in our lives in every moment.  We choose to say “No” to sin and “Yes” to Jesus– every. single. day.

That’s how you break the cycle of sin.  Stand up and be free; it’s what you were created for.

But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:22-23)