Big Family a Good Testimony? Think again.

When our family was featured in the ST article “More Grad Mums Having Big Families” on 25 Dec 2010, we received many encouraging SMSes and emails from brothers and sisters in Christ.  These comments included how we are a good testimony of a Christian family that brings glory to God and how wonderful our family declares the faithfulness of God through His provision in a money-conscious society (one of the key reasons why Singaporeans refuse to have more children).  Others saw it as a boost for Christians and Christianity, that we scored a few more points for God 🙂

When we agreed to giving a few comments for the article, we didn’t know that our family would be featured as the main photo.

Whilst it’s always nice to be affirmed and encouraged, we must realise that these are seen largely from a Christian perspective with a Christian mindset.  We automatically presume and assume that this would be impressive to the world.  Well, I happen to stumble onto a forum that discussed this article.  Have a look at what some really think about pastors, stay-at-home mothers, big families and Christians in general …

“just read today’s newspapers about a pastor………..Henson Lim………..have 7 kids and wife not working some more…………. so just how much is salary for a pastor ??? or does it depend on how many kids he has ??? like that…………all grads should try to be a pastor………….how many grads can afford 7 kids and a housewife ???”

“who else supprt them? the believers loh. so dumb of them”

“i know a pastor is also a job…………..apparently it’s a super high pay job……………have a dozen kids…………wife not working………………a bunch of goons supporting the whole family thru monthly tithes……………what a dream life………………..getting high pay by nagging at people and telling fairy-tales………!”

“i forgot about how they would need 2 minivans just to go out……….!!! so clueless brain-dead church-goers give money to feed ………a bullshit pastor ……his lazy wife………..7 brats……….and 2 minivans…………”

“so this pastor with housewife and 7 kids are really freeloaders, i think. pastor should not have so many kids since church-goers are supporting them !”

“Wife a shameless freeloader too. She can say take care of kids, but should she support herself or not?”

I must confess that when I first read these comments, it was not a nice feeling at all.  OK, I was offended and a tad angry.  Guess I wasn’t prepared for something like that, given all the positive pats on the back I had received from church members and friends.  Then again, should we expect any less, or more?  Do we expect them to come to God just because we have 7 children in tow?  Or that we have a God who blesses us financially and materially (an attractive option to some)?  That’s what we think, don’t we?

And even if we live right before the Lord, according to His Word, desiring to be the best testimonies to His name and goodness, we may still not be received at such.  On the contrary, as it has been shown, we can be misunderstood and maligned.  This should not come as a surprise at all.  Jesus was the only perfect man who walked on this earth and they did not appreciate His testimony at all.  He told His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:18-20

Indeed, we are not of this world at all.  To the world, a big family is unthinkable.  To the world, a woman who stays at home is lazy and incapable.  To the world, a stay-at-home mother and a big family means a huge household income.  And since the man is a pastor, and religious types should be poor, this pastor must have deceived his flock.  After all, to the world, these believers are weak and dumb, needing a religious and spiritual crutch, and that is why they are so easily convinced and misled by their pastors.  To the world, they just can’t believe that all we have and enjoy is really possible with God.  To the world, they cannot fathom nor understand what it means to have life, and to have it to the fullest (John 10:10b).  And so, they react and respond as they do with mean, hateful and hurtful words.

I am thankful for this little lesson.  And also thankful that these are only harmless statements.  I may have felt a little upset for myself, my wife and my family.  But I am reminded that this is nothing compared to what the Lord Jesus has done for us.  The world didn’t stop at harmless words with Jesus but executed Him with the words, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”  Many other Christian brothers and sisters face this same plight for the sake of Jesus.  Truly, this is nothing.  As we live for Him, may we continue to bring Him glory, come what may.

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7 thoughts on “Big Family a Good Testimony? Think again.

  1. felt really upset reading the comments. was reminded of 1 Cor 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” your response is indeed an example for how we should respond…

  2. I think it’s always very humbling when we receive comments like these..
    1) It gives us a chance to check our hearts : to not be arrogant and self righteous (that we obeyed God better than anyone else), not be quick to judge (condemning our critics), or quick to please man (defend ourselves and provide diplomatic answers)
    2) remind ourself of the need for the gospel for the world and ourselves
    3) opportunities to pray for our critics in love, knowing God sees beyond the criticism and knows where our critics are in their lives, and desires them to find joy and fulfillment beyond materials and physical circumstances.
    4) be comforted by the Holy Spirit that God alone is the rewarder of our faith.

    As a fellow pilgrim, I thank you for your faithfulness! 🙂

  3. Amazing grace truly. 9 mouths to feed. one work to provide. only by the grace of God. Be strong in the Lord & in the power of His might. May He crowns you with His goodness and may you pick up all abundance dripping from His path (Ps65:11).

  4. I think what counts is also whom you have encouraged. 🙂 I am greatly encouraged by Serene’s efforts. I have one and it is already so tough sometimes. But knowing you and Serene have 7 lets me know it is possible by God’s grace and that leads me to ask God for strength to “tahan” 🙂

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