Child free by choice?
I ran across Childfree And Happy over on BlackandMarriedWithKids.com last month. There are a growing number of couples choosing not to have children, including some who follow Jesus.
I admit my first thought is “what’s wrong with you?” Followed by wondering if it’s selfishness or if they will change their minds once they “grow up a bit”. However, I’ve learned my first reactions are often based on tradition and habit, rather than on what God says. So I thought a bit deeper.
It could be argued we have taken care of the command to “fill the earth”. It could be argued the money a couple would put into children could be used to help many people – to do biblical things like feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and helping the elderly.
Until fairly recently choosing to be married and not have children was not an option – not if one was going to follow God’s commands to have regular sex. This is a new option, one we’ve never had to think about. I wonder if some of the reaction to this is rooted in the feeling having babies is the only thing that “justifies” a couple having sex.
I’m sure some will argue, but I cannot find a biblical basis for saying it is wrong, it is sin, to choose to be childless. That said, when something is a major departure from the norm, I think it is important to know why we are doing it, and to know our reasons are sound. If a couple just does not “feel like” having kids I would suggest they pray about it. On the other hand, if the couple feels God does not want them to have children, who am I to say they had not heard God? I think being childless because God said to be childless would be very different from being childless so you were free to party!
In the Bible Paul says God gave some the ability to be celibate – to remain single and not sin sexually. He said these people could serve God in ways married folks could not. I’ve always thought that meant those people can serve God better as singles than if they were married, while the rest can serve God better as a couple than as two singles. It’s about living based on how God made you. So, now that it’s an option, is it possible that God might give some couples the ability to be childless, to not feel they have missed something by not having children? If so, then maybe those couples can serve God better without children than with them.
I realise this is a radical thought. Anyone care to wade in?
See also the follow up to this post: Childless by choice – round two.