“You Hate Big Families!” –A Discussion About How to Respond Biblically When Someone Disagrees with You

That title makes me snicker. It’s silly that I even have to write that, but the accusation has been thrown around so let’s address it head on and delve into the ramifications of that accusation.

Because that’s the way I roll.

It’s actually an important discussion as you’ll see. I am not going to miss this opportunity to use this as a teachable moment.

This accusation is a result of people being angry about my posts against Above Rubies and the Quiverfull Movement.

If, as they claim, Above Rubies is not Quiverfull, then what I’m saying in my posts isn’t even relevant. I have welcomed people to disprove my conclusions with hard evidence –like an article by Above Rubies speaking out against it. No such article has been produced. Only shaming, attacks, and illogical emotional pleas.

By their actions and attitudes, they’re actually hurting their cause. Every time they post my links and tag me in posts attacking me, more people read the post and say they agree with me. There’s a common thread in this: this is unfortunately how Christians often deal with conflict either within the church or without.

The logic I’m seeing goes something like this:


“The purpose of Above Rubies isn’t to support the Quiverfull Movement, therefore, it’s not supporting it even if they permit it in their midst.”

Or, “I’m angry at you that you’re misrepresenting Above Rubies,  but I can’t prove that you’re misrepresenting them so I’ll just get angry and behave badly.”

Or, “How dare you call what we believe Quiverfull! We don’t like that name even though that is –according to its definition– what we believe (but I’m not going to admit that). I’m angry that you called us out and made an issue of what we believe. I’m going to try to shame you and to make you feel like you’re a bad person for not seeing it our way and for daring to say anything negative about our precious beliefs.”


Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t hate big families, but I am going to take a few moments to explain why I don’t hate big families.

My parents both came from families of eight children, and my mom always wanted a big family. After my little sister was born when my mom was only 22 years old, she started hemorrhaging and had to have a hysterectomy to save her life. She has many of the same health problems that I do.

My parents had three kids. They looked into adoption, but it didn’t work out. My parent’s home was always open to kids. We had neighborhood kids, church kids, school kids –whoever. And Mom loved having kids around. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her happier than when surrounded by her nine (and counting) grandchildren.

I was raised helping her babysit, helping her in Sunday school classes, and working with her in the nursery and children’s church.

I always wanted a big family.  I wanted at least five kids.

There are five kids in my husband’s family.  He is the second born, and his youngest sibling is 10 years younger than he is.

When we got married we lived in an apartment on his parent’s property for the first year and rented the next door neighbor’s house for another 6 months. During that time,  I spent most days with my mother-in-law helping her in their home office or helping to homeschool the younger children.

I wanted at least five kids, but my husband who came from a larger family wanted only three. We compromised at planning for four.

I knew my family health history and knew that all the ladies in my family before me had eventually had to have hysterectomies. So, I wanted to have as many children as I could when I was young knowing that I might not be able to have more after my mid-twenties.

It turned out that given the severity of my health, I could have ended up with no babies at all.

But I have these two amazing blessing that God gave me through His grace and compassion.

I decided I wanted to let God give me as many babies as He wanted (Scott agreed and said I could have as many as I wanted before the age of 30). I decided this not because I thought birth control was sinful or made my salvation void, but because I wanted babies and knew I probably wouldn’t be able to have any more if we waited.

For the first 10 years of our marriage, we didn’t use birth control except for short jaunt when we were trying to control hemorrhaging (which didn’t work). In all that time, I have two babies and a handful of miscarriages that I’ll talk about at another time.  

One accusation is that I hate big families because I’m angry at God that He didn’t give me a big family. That’s simply not true. While I’ll probably always be drawn to the idea of another baby, I’ve found peace where God has put me.

I have a friend who has a big family. She says that in my heart I am a mom of many because of those babies I never got to hold. She made me cry when she said that, because the ache for children you wanted and never held never truly, fully goes away.  Like every other pain, you just get used to carrying it and you can lighten your burden by giving it to Jesus.

I’m definitely not angry at God, and if I was going to be angry at God I’ve got enough other fodder for the fire without having to be angry about what I don’t have.  I could be angry about the problems I do have if I let myself, but I trust in God’s goodness and wisdom. That trust dispels any anger.

Just the fact that I spoke out about the false doctrine of the Quiverfull Movement does not mean I hate large families or that I am anti-big families. I longingly look at large families regularly and then have to remind myself to be content when God put me.

I didn’t speak out against all large families. If I had then why would moms of large families be messaging me saying that they agree with me and thanking me for explaining the issue so well? One friend said I had explained it “beautifully.”

I never said that it was wrong to have a large family. I said that it was wrong to say that the Bible commands you to have a large family. I didn’t speak out against people. I spoke out against an erroneous theology that some people –whether big or little families– believe. Do you see the difference between that?  It’s not the same thing.

Just like it’s not wrong to wear skirts, but it’s wrong to say that the bible commands you to wear skirts when it doesn’t.

I didn’t say I was anti-big-family.  I said I was anti-misuse-of-scripture. I’m against people saying that if you’re not having babies that you’re either not saved or not obeying God.

If you attend or support Above Rubies and don’t believe that having babies is part of your salvation or your biblical obedience, then I wasn’t even talking about you. So why get a bee in your bonnet over it? My article didn’t apply to you.

If you do believe it and the truth offends you, that’s between you and God. I’m just the messenger. Like the saying goes: don’t shoot the messenger.  

If you disagree with me and think that it’s not what Above Rubies represents, then I encourage you to be vigilant to see that it’s not being supported in their meetings. Because it absolutely was supported at the meetings I attended.

The discerning among us could see it clearly. If I had been the only one who saw it, then I might have thought that –maybe– it was not as much of an issue as I thought. But I wasn’t the only one, and I’ve been contacted by so many people who saw the same thing.

It’s simple, really. If you’re not for it then speak out against it.

That’s what I did. That’s what we’re called in scripture to do.

The one thing we are absolutely, biblically allowed to judge is false teaching. We are commanded to call it out. Jesus had some pretty harsh things to say about the false teachers in the churches of his day.  What I said was quite mild compared to vipers and white washed sepulchers which were the words Jesus used for leaders in His day who twisted scripture. You’ll notice that I didn’t go to the Above Rubies meetings and start turning over tables, though, because there’s also a certain biblical behavior that I refuse to deviate from even if I disagree with someone. Jesus wasn’t in sin turning over the tables, but it doesn’t align with commands to Christians today in the Age of Grace.

The only time we’re allowed to be harsh in scripture is when talking about false doctrine.

Let’s play devil’s advocate. Just for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that the Quiverfull Movement is right and that God really does want us to keep having babies no matter what. I don’t believe that, but –just for argument’s sake– let’s suppose it was right.  


What would be the proper response if someone disagreed with your beliefs and said you were wrong when you were Biblically accurate?

Should you–

–Act like a victim and feel sorry for yourself that everyone is being mean to you?

–Accuse everyone who disagreed with you of persecuting you and pout, whine, and cry that it’s not fair?

–Track down those people and attack them because how dare they contradict your faith?

–Get angry and attack the character of the person who disagrees with you, slandering them to all their friends and anyone who even mentions them or dares to suggest that they might be right?

–Refuse to actually address the person’s concerns from a rational perspective and try to manipulate the person with guilt, shame, and passive aggressive behavior?

–Pick fights with anyone who agrees with the person or pick fights with the person on posts that have nothing to do with the disagreement?

–Bait the person into arguments by making accusations of lying or being dishonest to try to provoke a response from them?


Let us suppose that the Quiverfullers are right and that I’m not actually saved or that I’m living in sin because I don’t have a house full of babies. (I don’t believe this, but we’re playing devil’s advocate. )

Would they be winning me to Jesus and convincing me that I’m in sin by the above behavior?

Do any of the above actions describe the Bible’s method for restoring a brother who is in sin? (If I actually was in sin, which I’m not).

Does any of the above describe actions that the Bible endorses for interaction with unbelievers, those outside the body of Christ? (If I was actually unsaved which is not the case. )

If I was really unsaved or in sin would that behavior better their testimony? Is any of that helping their cause? Is any of that reflecting Biblical behavior?

No.

How you respond when someone disagrees with you, what you do and say in that moment, is who you are.

What you do in the heat of the moment is the ultimate revealer of your true inner character.Wishing you all theHope, Wonder and Joy that the Season can bring!

I’m ashamed of the way that my fellow believers have responded when I have dared to suggest that they should check their beliefs against scripture. (This has happened many times not just regarding this topic.)

And yet that’s exactly what scripture commands us to do!

We should be checking everything against scripture.

I’m particularly ashamed that my fellow believers have no idea –or,  worse, seem not to care– that while they’re attacking me with ridiculous, illogical,  and unfounded accusations like that I hate big families,  they’re ruining their own testimony and poorly representing Jesus.  

They’re making all of us Christians look petty. Unfortunately, the reality is that a group is judged by the worst among us. That’s an unfortunate thing –but very true.

If I picked a fight with every person who disagreed with me, all I would ever do is fight. (I explained my concerns on my blog, but that’s not the same as picking a fight with someone on social media.)

We Christians are called to be known for our love for each other.  My concerns have always been communicated in love.  It’s been the hard and uncomfortable truth, but it was said in love and concern.

The things that have been said back to me were done in anger. Remember the verse that says not to sin in your anger? Some of the people I’ve interacted with are not obeying that verse.

My final evidence that I don’t hate large families is that I’m actually actively supporting one. I don’t have my friend’s permission to divulge any details, but once a week I bring food to a family with many children. I’m not trying to boast. Normally, I’m all about “not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing,” but in this case, I decided to mention it.

If I hated all big families would I be doing that? If I was anti-big-family would I be supporting them in this way?  I have done it every week for over a year unless I physically couldn’t walk or drive.

I don’t hate anyone, not even those who have been unkind to me.

This is an important discussion –even for those who aren’t Quiverful or connected to Above Rubies.  

We need to be incredibly aware of how we respond to those who disagree with us –if they’re believers or not. When in doubt, a soft answer is a good option. When in doubt treat people with grace. Don’t answer in anger and be willing to search the scriptures if someone communicates that what you believe might be wrong.

Our testimonies are so very important and so easily lost.

Are you displaying biblical character in the way that you respond to people who disagree with you?

I pray that you are.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

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