Deuteronomy 5:9 & 10, “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, and on the third and the fourth [generations] of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
Most of us are familiar with this passage because of the teachers of the generational curse. To understand Deuteronomy 5 we look at the culture of Eastern Religions, such as Judaism or Islam, in which children are not free to change religions; a person must follow the faith of his father. In Deuteronomy 5:9, the context in which God is speaking is one of the God hater that has gone to idols to worship instead of to God. If the father is a God hater, the son will be a God hater, and God says that will happen up until the fourth generation—or rather, can happen up to the fourth generation—and He would oppose them. However, in the very next verse, God declares that He shows love to thousands of generations who love Him and keep His commandments. Once a person moves from God hating to God loving, he is shown love instead of hatred. To say that every generation springing from a God-hater is bound and has no choice to become anything other than what the forefather was would negate all evangelistic efforts. It would be just as wrong to use verse 10 as an absolute that if the first generation loves God, the following thousands will also love God. Therefore, using this passage as proof of why a Christian is having problems is, to me, ridiculous. This passage also has to be viewed in the light of repentance, man’s ability to choose, and the fact that when we are born again, we are brought into a new family with God as our Father; we now have a new history rooted in Christ Himself. Therefore, it is impossible for someone to believe in God and still suffer the effects of previous generations of God haters. This point can be proven over and over again, and for example we can look at India, where upon conversion the new believers’ family members actually attempted and in many cases succeeded in killing those who accepted Christ; despite that, there have been 30,000,000 conversions. The converts’ parents were God haters, but their progeny became God lovers. Obviously, the persons in the new generation of God lovers were not cursed by the God who hated the idolatry of their fathers and mothers.