Thursday, May 6, 2010

Christians' Attitudes Regarding Children

I have been wanting to write about something that has been on my heart for a long time now. This blog post has been whirling around my head for weeks, so I thought it was time I take the time to write some of my thoughts down.

I want to talk about Christians' attitudes toward having children.

The Bible is very clear about how God views children. Children are a blessing and reward from the LORD.

Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV)

3Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Now here are two views on having children, and I personally disagree with both.

First, there are those who do not view children as a blessing but rather as a burden. You might hear them say something like the following:

"What? She's pregnant again? You'd think 5 kids would be enough!" or

"Look at those people. They are selfish to have so many children. Don't they know that the planet is already overpopulated? It's because of people like them that there ought to be limits on the number of children one can have."

Those statements really make me cringe, especially when I hear them coming out of a Christian's mouth.

Then there are those who believe that if a couple has only 2 or 3 children, then they must be selfish or are viewing children as a burden. Although that might be true of someone who has only 2 or 3 children, it is not necessarily true, so I also cringe when I hear Christians say things like this:

"What? They only have 2 children? What's wrong with them? They must not be trusting the Lord...They must be selfish...

There are also some Christians who believe that Christians should give God complete sovereignty over one's womb and will equate that to mean that Christians should not practice any form of family planning whatsoever. For Christians who choose to not use any form of family planning and believe God has called them to that, I respect that. After all, children are a blessing, and in fact, the Bible shows that in certain circumstances God opened and closed the wombs of some women in the Bible. However, I think that using those examples to prove that the Bible forbids family planning is a misuse of those passages. To my knowledge, there is no passage in the Bible that tells us exactly how many children we are to have. To my knowledge, there is also no passage in the Bible that forbids the practice of family planning unless, of course, the method used is taking a human life.

Side Note: Obviously, any method of birth control after conception is the taking of a human life. We know from passages like Psalm 139:13, Isaiah 44:2, and Luke 1:36 that the Bible teaches that life begins at conception. Please realize that there are some birth control methods (not just abortion) that act after conception and take a human life. I won't get into those methods here, though.

Most people I have come into contact with, however, seem to view children the following way: They claim to view children as a blessing but yet look upon those who have large families as being "strange" or "weird" wondering why on earth would they want so many? Generally, they would consider families with 2-4 children as being "normal" but any more than that to be "abnormal."

But here is my question: Who determines what is a "normal" number of children to have? We only have to look back a couple generations to see that in our great-grandparents' days, having ten children was considered quite "normal." Those with only a couple children would have been viewed as "abnormal" in their time.

I am not telling you how many children you should have. Let's not play the numbers game. What I am asking is that we examine our hearts regarding children, myself included. Do we have a biblical worldview of children, or have we been brainwashed by the world? We know that Satan and the world hate human life. Abortion is rampant in our society. We know that God deeply values human life and loves children. We know the world tells us to focus on "me me me", while God calls us to deny ourselves and set our hearts and minds on things above.

If you were to ask me how many children I want, I would probably respond with this. I don't know how many children the Lord has planned for us. He has not revealed to us a specific number, and my husband and I do not have a set number in mind. Our hearts' desire is to have several children. How many is "several", I do not know. We also know that if I have another C-section, I will probably be medically limited as to the number of children we can have. We can only trust the Lord with these things, and we try to seek His will in all things, including the number of children He wants to bless us with.

If you have a set number of children you desire to have, why? Why would you want 3 children as opposed to 4, for example? I think these are good questions to ask ourselves. Are our motives selfish or godly? And for Christian women, are we submitting to our own husband with regard to how many children he wants? Are we seeking the Lord's will or our own will? Have we prayed and asked God what His will is for our lives in the area of child-bearing?

Ecclesiastes 12:13 (KJV)

13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Ultimately, it is a heart issue. Fear God and keep His commandments. Seek first the kingdom of God. He will faithfully work out the rest. :-)

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