Why I’m Afraid Of Being A Father

If a woman doesn’t want to be a mother, she shouldn’t be a wife. My dude, stay away from her.

In the same way, if a man doesn’t want to be a father, he shouldn’t be a husband. Ladies, stay away from him.

I shared those words on social media last week, and it triggered lots of anger and attacks against my character. I’m rarely surprised by emotionalism on social media, but I was genuinely surprised by emotional outbursts from Christians who should know better.

Just as I have a responsibility to be slow to write, my readers also have a responsibility to be slow to take offence—especially when my words are Biblical.

It’s concerning that many Christians are so easily offended by other Christians. But it’s even more concerning that many Christians are so easily offended by Christ.

Some people claim my words were merely my personal conviction. But that’s a ridiculous claim. My beliefs about marriage and children are not only reflective of the Church’s basic teachings over the last 2,000 years, it’s explicitly what God says in the Bible. 

This is why Voddie Baucham says “If you’re not ready for kids, you’re not ready to get married.” 

I’m not as experienced and as wise as Voddie Baucham. I’m not an expert on marriage and parenting. I’ve only been married for a year and a half. By the grace of God, my wife and I have a good and joyous marriage. But I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m strictly relying on what I’ve learned from the Bible, pre-martial counselling, and my pastors and older men. 

Also, I’m just a father of a pre-born baby. I’m a very new parent. So I know even less about parenting than I do about marriage. That’s one of the reasons why I’m afraid of being a father.

To be honest, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to be a father. 6 years ago, I said“I am afraid that like my father and his father before him, I too will be a poor husband and an absentee father, too afraid of the future to be present.”

I grew up without a father because he was afraid he might not be able to provide for me and my mom. He abandoned us before I was born. So the only thing I know about my father is that he was so afraid of being my father, he decided to abandon me. 

So naturally, it’s always made me afraid of having children. Though I love children, what if, like my father, I don’t love my children? What if I believe I can’t afford to provide for them? What if I abandon them and hurt them the way my father hurt me? 

 My grandfather was fatherless, my father was fatherless, I’m fatherless. What about my children? What if I continue to the pattern of fatherlessness?

So although I’m excited about being a father, I’m still afraid. But what does that mean? Does that mean I shouldn’t be a father?

No, God has given me a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

If I choose not to have children because of my fears, I am not trusting the power of God and I’m not loving God and children. 

If a husband or a wife does not want to become a parent, they need to repent. There’s no righteous basis for married couples to refuse to have children at some point in their marriage. The idea that married couples are free to choose whether they want to have children or not is a worldly concept.

To be clear, I’m referring to unwillingness, not inability. There’s nothing wrong with married couples who are unable to have children. Their inability to have children—and the pain that so often comes with it—is one of the reasons why married couples who are unwilling to have children should change their minds. The ability to have children is such a blessing that it makes their unwillingness to have children all the more saddening. 

Though some married couples genuinely do not prefer to have children, we should remember that we’re not commanded to obey our preferences. We’re commanded to obey God. (1 Peter 2:11)

In Genesis 1:28, God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

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Some people claim those words are only addressed to Adam and Eve. Frankly, that’s a shockingly liberal justification for disobedience. If that Bible verse is only applicable to Adam and Eve, then we have to believe the other things God says to Adam and Eve only apply to them.

For example, we would have to believe that what God says in Genesis 1-3 about marriage, original sin, and humanity being made in the image of God is only applicable to Adam and Eve. 

And especially, if we believe Genesis 1:28 isn’t a commandment for all humanity, then we would have to believe it’s only Adam and Eve who have dominion over animals. We would have to believe the dominion mandate doesn’t apply to us. 

On top of that, if we believe Genesis 1:28 is only applicable to Adam and Eve, then we would have to believe God would have been satisfied if their children refused to have their own children—since the mandate supposedly didn’t apply to them. 

Even if that were true (it’s not), Adam and Eve couldn’t fill the earth with their children. Their children cannot fill the earth. This is why the rest of Genesis explicitly shows Adam’s children and descendants providentially dispersing to different places to fill the earth.

Meaning, all of Adam’s descendants—all of us—are commanded to be fruitful and multiply. This commandment is repeated throughout the Bible (Jeremiah 29:6, 1 Timothy 5:14). 

The Bible also says children are a blessing from God (Psalm 127:3). We either live as though this is true or we live as though this is a lie. If a married couple is unwilling to have children, it means they do not believe God when he says children are a blessing. After all, who wouldn’t want to be blessed by God? 

So married couples who are unwilling to have children seem to believe having children would be a curse to them—not a blessing. 

My father wishes I was never born because he believes I am a curse to him. By the grace of God, I’m excited about my son because I know children are a blessing. And since they are blessing, despite my fears, I know God will use them to strengthen my faith and help me repeat what Jesus once said: “

 “Father…not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

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