Managing size of families in times of recession
• Having Children You Cannot Adequately Cater For Is Dangerous To Our Society Over the years, man has joyfully obeyed the mandate to procreate and populate Earth, his dwelling place. As world population grew, however, the need arose to manage it, so that the earth’s resources could go round its numerous inhabitants. Presently, many nations’ economies are in dire straits, and Nigeria is no exception. In view of this, is it still appropriate to still abide steadfastly to families injunction to go and multiple? Is it scripturally right to attempt to regulate the population in families? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.
‘Yes, Children Are God’s Gift, But We Should Apply Wisdom’
(His Grace, Most Revd. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, Primate of The African Church)
EVEN though one may not find a direct scriptural reference to it in the Bible, but somebody has to produce the number of children he is able to feed, train and care for. For instance, it is a serious problem for someone who doesn’t have anything doing, but perhaps has five or seven children to cater for. In such a case, God’s blessing has now become a challenge, and the man will not enjoy that home. Before you know it, the children start to misbehave, because they have to look for something to eat. The next thing is that the man has given them out as housemaids and houseboys, thereby denying the children proper education they are entitled to according to Biblical injunction.
By applying sound wisdom, the individual should be able to know the number of children he can cater for. The Bible says we should seek wisdom because it is the principal thing. When a man or woman is guided by the wisdom of God, he/she will be able to take decision on his/her own, especially on what to do to better his life and that of his family.
Even if other people are doing things in a particular way, but with God’s wisdom, you would take decisions that will be of great benefit to you and the society. It is true that children are God’s gift, but at the same time, we should ensure we don’t misuse that gift. And though I am not in support of family planning, but I believe if a man and woman agree that they don’t need more children, God can help them stop it.
For instance, my wife and I never went for any family planning. We just prayed to God and He answered us. Same God can still do it for those who would seek His face in faith.
For example, I know of a woman who went for family planning, but after eight years, the woman got pregnant again. So, family planning is no guarantee that you won’t have children again. Remember, family planning is man-made and it has other challenges. I believe there is also a divine planning that comes from God and it is usually perfect. Prayer alone worked for us and some other people have also confessed God’s faithfulness in that regard. I have six children and we beseeched God that we didn’t want to have more children. He honoured our prayer and it has never stopped us from meeting each other. There are so many benefits that come from God as a result of our belief in Him. This is one of them, apart from our healing, deliverance from sin and so on.
‘Wisdom Is Profitable For All Things’
(Rev. Isaac Adeyemi, Senior Pastor, Embrace International Assembly, Ikorodu, Lagos)
TO me, it is not scriptural to say you should have one, two, three, four, five or six children, but wisdom is profitable for all things. Therefore, wisdom demands that the children you will not be able to take care of, you don’t bring them into the world. The Bible says a man that cannot provide for his household is an infidel. So, in order to avoid being an infidel, then individuals should give birth to the number of children they can afford to take care of, and you will be fulfilling the scriptures. You see, what is unscriptural will never pass for being scriptural. God didn’t say that this is the number of children you should have, and same Bible is saying that a man who cannot provide for his household is an infidel, and if you don’t want to be an infidel then bring the ones you can provide for. That is wisdom and the principal thing for us to do.
‘Children Are Gifts From God, Nobody Should Regulate The Number’
(Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie, Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos)
MY answer to that question is no, because children are gifts from God. There are married couples, who have none and there are others who have more than they can cater for. Even though people are advocating the number that you have to bring to the world, so that you will be able to cater for them, but my question to them is: What of those that are being killed in the process of committing different kinds of abortion? You should accept what God has given to you and He also knows why He is sending that child into the world. Look at all the atrocities that are going in Nigeria today, and nobody knows the cause. Even those of you who are saying that people should cut down the number of their children do not know the cause because we are not God. You people just leave the major aspect of the problem you should be discussing and you are focusing on trimming down the number of children Christians should have, as if that is the main issue. You think you can control the number of children that are coming into this world? That is wrong. Nobody knows how he or she came into this world, even our mothers didn’t know when conception started and now you want to kill what you did not create. Some are even saying we are too many in the country, therefore, we should reduce our population. But are you God? Because things are bad in the country, therefore, it means we should reduce the number of children Christians should have. That is not the issue. Look at the rate of kidnapping and killing going on right now. We should turn to God and ask Him to cleanse us because killing is never our culture, but people are doing it today with impunity. It’s unfortunate.
‘Regulating Number Of Children Is Between Husband/Wife’
(Pastor Sunday Adelaja, Senior Pastor, The Embassy of God, Ukraine)
To regulate the number of children is not a question of scriptures or Bible. This is not a God question, but a man question. Even though I am a pastor, I would say that one of the evils in our society is religion, which has messed up the people’s mindset, so much that when we talk about regulating the amount of children or family planning, a typical Nigerian would say, ‘Well, there is nothing I can do about it because God sends the children.’
That concept is not only irrational, but it is also untrue, as it is based on lies and self-deception. It is untrue because, like I have said earlier, it is not a God question, but man’s question. It should be a human question that is decided between husband and wife. To say that God sends children is to lie about God. Yes, God sends children, but He does not send them without our participation. If a husband and wife would not sleep together, God would not all of a sudden send them children from nowhere. It is very simple to commit yourself to family control; just stay away from your woman. If you don’t sleep with that woman, she won’t get pregnant. It is a decision for the husband and wife to abstain or come together. It is equally their decision to control how many children they want, or to just keep getting children. It is an act of irresponsibility to blame God for your inability to control yourself. So, I would say we need more education in that area. The country needs to start a crusade and a campaign to let parents know their responsibility towards the children they are bringing to the world. If they don’t have the money to raise them, then they should not bring them to the world to come and suffer. Therefore, it is a question of education and enlightenment, and not a question of God.
‘Children You Cannot Cater For End Up As Street Beggars’
(His Eminence Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN)
WHAT I would advice parents to do is to have the number of children they can take care of; the number of children they can conveniently maintain, when they are sick, children they can educate, and so on. Having so many children even endangers the mother’s health. So, there is need to state here that spacing of children is necessary.
For instance, if you have four or five children, then that is okay. I have seen many Nigerians, especially the educated ones having two children, which I think is good because you don’t have to produce children, who will later become beggars on the streets. Having children you cannot adequately cater for is dangerous to our society and that is why we have so much insecurity in this country. Whether one is a Christian or not, one should be wise in producing children. The Bible says we should go and increase and multiply, but it doesn’t mean that one should be senseless about it. One should use his senses in producing children.
Family planning has to do with the number of children one should have. For instance, those who studied Biology will agree with me that there is a kind of family planning you will apply without inserting anything in the woman or man, but you use the woman’s ovulation period to calculate. And if you are able to do that effectively, it will give you the number of children you want. There is no church that doesn’t have doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists and so on. These professionals are there to teach us family planning. So, every church applies family planning.
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