A Generation from Alcatraz
“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Deuteronomy 5:9, 10 NKJV
It’s at a distance from me, across the bay, the crumbling remains of Alcatraz, an island prison of days gone by. But the distance is not simply in miles, it is also a generation away from it’s incarcerating days. A generation, in fact, 50 years ago “The Rock” ceased to cage anyone in its cells. Today it exists as an national historic landmark.
I will occasionally hear people speak of generational curses. Personal areas of spiritual bondage inherited from those who preceded them. “I struggle with anger (or fear, or lust, or poverty, etc.) just like my father did, and just like his father did,” they’ll say. There is a crushing reality to continuing struggle which seems inevitable, reinforced by the curses passed down. I don’t deny the pain so commonly experienced. But, curiously, those of us who have personally experienced the liberation of the new covenant still empower the old, lingering in the toxicity of a curse that was lifted off when it was placed on the One who hung on a tree. We give those curses power when we fail to distance ourselves from the stench of the prison, whose doors have long since been unlocked.
But, I am no longer under the curse. I am in Christ. Old things have passed away. Look! All things have become new!
Because of the mercies of Jesus, I can now stand at a distance, even a generation’s distance, from that which once held me captive. Today, one may even take a tour of Alcatraz and peer into the cells which once held the most desperate of criminals. Not for me. I’m not going there. “My soul escaped, like a bird, out of the snare of the fowler!” This bird-man from Alcatraz is free. Bondage is a great place to be from.