We are Christians. We are a happily married couple. We are child-free. And, it is OK!
Being a child-free, Christian couple is still not the norm. A search online, and Twitter, brought up more liberal, non-Christian child-free posts than Christian ones. However, there were also many articles by Christians stating that being child-free and being a Christian isn’t God’s plan and is a sinful choice. In fact, there were more of those articles than there were ones saying being Christian and child-free is OK. There were also secular comments on the selfishness and immaturity of not having children.
Here are a few of the most prominent Christian arguments used to shame child-free Christians.
God said we are to multiply.
As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it. ~ Genesis 9:7
That specific verse was given to Noah and his family after the flood. Only Noah and his family were left and God knew that the earth needed to be populated again. Thus, God wanted them to multiply.
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. ~ Genesis 9:1
God said children are a gift from Him.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. ~ Psalm 127:3
Yes, children are a gift. God gave our bodies the ability to produce life. We do not deny that they are gift. I like how Jean E. Jones in her article on Don’t Judge Me, I’m Childless wrote this about children in marriage.
Jesus didn’t limit his promise of an abundant life to parents, and the Bible tells us to seek our ultimate fulfillment in God, not children (John 4:14). When a woman told Jesus his mother was blessed for having borne him, he replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it,” thus elevating knowing and obeying God’s word higher than childbearing (Luke 11:27–28).
According to Jesus it is far more important to focus on God’s word. It isn’t that children are not important but rather that God would rather us know Him and His word than put such importance on a gift that although is from Him is earthly. I believe this applies to both the childless and child-free.
Some child-free couples may even put what would have gone to raising children into helping others adopt and care for children in need.
God said children are a reward. How can we deny ourselves that by being selfish?
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. ~ Psalm 127: 3-5
A man with many children is blessed not because he had children but because he was gifted with many children. It is saying that they are blessed because they were given many children not because they had to have them.
It is so easy to take scripture out of context. When a scripture is taken out of context it can be massaged to match a person’s way of thinking. God did not give us scripture so we could pick and choose. Each scripture should be read in, and kept in, context. I am guilty of taking scripture out of context and have learned that over the years. By going to the bible and seeing a scripture in context we can rest assured that our way of thinking is, or is not, of God.
It is also easy to focus on either the Old or the New Testaments. However, both are important and both should be the influencers in our Christian walk.
God tells us not to judge people on what food they eat.
The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. ~ Romans 14:3
God tells us not to judge people based on which day they worship.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. ~ Romans 14:5
Those who focus primarily on the Old Testament, like Leviticus 11, would probably not agree with those verses, since the Old Testament talks about many unclean foods. Whereas in the New Testament all foods are deemed as clean.
Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. ~ Romans 14:30
I believe having children falls in the same category.
Having children is not a commandment. Nowhere in the Bible does it say husbands and wives must have children. One could argue that “must have” children is implied in the Bible. I don’t believe God implies anything. He is straightforward. If we are supposed to do or not do something God states it clearly as such.
I love how in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul talks about abstaining from marriage if it will distract from doing God’s work. I believe the same applies to having children. Having a child can be a distraction if parents focus more on them than God and raising them in His honor. God knows our reasons for having, or not having children, and He knows if those reasons are truly selfish or based on our strength in what we can handle and still focus on God.
It is amazing to me how many Christians out there are ready to jump out and judge those who choose to be child-free.
Here are a two secular arguments used to shame child-free Christians.
You don’t want to grow up.
Personally, I think it takes a true grown up to make the decision not to have children. It is not an easy decision since most of us are hounded from an early age to have them. Once we are married we get pressured even more because it is the “mature” thing to do and the “next step” after marriage.
Maybe some couples look like they didn’t want to grow up because they go out, they travel, they enjoy activities that those with children do not have the luxury of doing. That does not make them immature and big kids. It just means they made the decision that was right for them.
My husband and I love to travel. We like to try new restaurants. We enjoy going to Las Vegas to lay by the pool and soak up the sun by ourselves. We discussed the idea of children but knew having one would not be fair to a child. We are both very strict. Mental illness runs in the family. We wanted to help those who really want children to obtain that dream by donating to organizations that make their dream a reality. I even wrote a post on this because we have been deemed as selfish by the Catholic Church for not wanting children.
You Won’t Have Anyone to Care for You in Your Senior Years
All I can say is that I feel sorry for the children born to couples who just want caretakers when they grow old. I know that we, as children, are told in the Bible that we are to care for our elders.
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. ~1 Timothy 5:4
However, that doesn’t mean we should have children only for that reason. We should have children only if we feel that is what God has called us to do. Using children for our own purpose and not God’s would be wrong in His eyes.
Having children is a decision between a married couple and God. There are many reasons why couples may choose to be child-free. Before judging them think about why they may have made such a decision. We made the decision only after much consideration. I was never very good with children even when I would babysit. I think babies are cute. I admire those who choose to go on the childrearing adventure. My husband and I just felt more called to support ministries that help children and provide adoption resources rather than bring a child into an uncertain home. Being a Christian and child-free is OK.
Child-free Christian Resources
If you are like us, you probably feel like you are the only Christian couple out there that chose not to have children. It is difficult finding life groups, or other support, because most churches focus their attention on families. Here are a few resources I found that have helped us. If you have any resources we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Christianity and the Childfree
“Woe To Those Who Are Pregnant”: A Christian, Childfree Pastor’s Response to Pope Francis
Can You be Child-Free by Choice for the Kingdom of God?
On Being Christian and Childfree
The Fruitful Callings of the Childless By Choice
Childless by Choice