Not a Burden

I never particularly liked this verse:

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)

“How could you dislike that verse?!” you wonder. From my once childless (and therefore defensive) perspective, it was a verse used to make people who don’t have kids feel bad.

The premise that kids were a good thing seemed like a gimme to me. Even when I personally didn’t want children, I naïvely assumed that everyone realized that chubby wubby wittle babies were wonderful things meant to be treasured and cherished and protected.

So Psalm 127:3 seemed more like a swift kick in the bruised shin of the childless than a necessary admonishment. But now I, devastatingly, understand why this verse is included in the canon.

The rather obvious fact is that this verse isn’t intended to make childless people feel inferior, but to counter a world that considers babies and children a burden.

“Burden” seems rather a bland word when held up next to real-life stories of children considered burdens.

In some places, “burden” means a child is ignored. They’re left alone to do what they please during the day without their parents taking much notice of the proverbial extra mouth to feed.

In some places, “burden” means a child is traded or sold into a life of work, manual or sexual.

In some places, “burden” means a child is killed shortly after birth because they are female or disabled.

In some places, “burden” means a child is killed before birth because their human rights are considered less important than an individual’s “reproductive rights.”

Burden means a child is subhuman. Burden means a child is forgotten. Burden means a child is thrown out.

Nowhere is this more disgustingly and precisely detailed as in the mouths of “experts,” or philosophers and ethicists who say that killing babies is no different from abortion. Reading this article, you might think that it’s just the chilling opinion of some wacky Europeans. But Mike’s professor at the University of Colorado wrote a book on this very topic, saying that it’s morally neutral to kill children under the age of three because they haven’t yet reached personhood.

Just to be clear: My taxpayer dollars subsidize the salary of a man who teaches young people that if I chose to kill my daughter, pictured below, because she’s a burden, that’s OK.

Picture 1293b

She’s only 18 months old. She needs to live twice as long to attain human rights.

But the good thing that the previous article reveals is that some ethicists realize how arbitrary a passage through a birth canal is in making a baby human. They rightly point out that nothing magical happens when a baby’s head crowns that suddenly turns her into a person.

This, of course, is the fallacy that abortion depends upon and why we listen to the spin words of “protecting women’s reproductive rights,” rather than feeling outrage at the killing of a baby.

Here’s Alexandra in utero. I apologize for the gratuitous belly.

belly painting 014b

Here she is two days later.

alex newborn

Got that? Not human in the first picture (according to some people’s logic). Fully human (and beautiful, I might add) in the second.

Killing this beautiful, sweet little thing pictured would be a horrific murder. “Aborting” a fetus would be within my personal rights.

The sheer horror of late-term abortions is coming to light in the trial of Kermit Gosnell. I couldn’t read the full article linked to above. If you’d like to read a slightly less horrifying article, you can read this one instead. If this doesn’t convince you that the horror of late-term abortions is murder, then nothing will.

From child neglect to child abuse to child slavery to child murder, the human evil that is perpetrated when we believe that children are a burden is clear.

I didn’t link to those articles to ruin your day (though it has ruined mine). Here are a few things we can do to show the world that children are a gift from God and not a burden:

  • Support International Justice Mission in rescuing children who have been trafficked into labor or prostitution.
  • Support Highly Vulnerable Children through Compassion, children who have been abused, are orphaned, or whose parents aren’t able to care for them.
  • Help babies whose moms have a hard time caring for them through Compassion’s Child Survival Program. Sometimes these mothers are contemplating abortion and change their minds because of the program. I met one adorable little 2-year-old in India whose family decided not to kill her (she was visually impaired and female, a double burden) because she was enrolled in the program.
  • When you vote on various abortion bills, go beyond the language of “reproductive rights” or “pro-life” and consider in plain language what you are voting to legalize or criminalize.
  • If you don’t have children, don’t joke or make passing remarks about how glad you are that you don’t have the “burden” of a child. It might seem harmless, but it’s part of the culture that deepens the belief that children are a burden. (And if I in my younger days before having children made any comments that implied a belief that children were a burden, I sincerely, sincerely apologize. I didn’t know what I was saying.)
  • Protect and love the children you come across each day. (Read a good book on this by Wess Stafford.)

Children aren’t a burden; they are a gift from God. The fact that we care for and protect our children for an unprecedented amount of time compared to the animal world is one of the things that makes us human. I have to go hug and kiss my baby now. Please do your part to help show the world that children are a gift and not a burden too.


  • Rakel says:

    Ok, so, this is weird. I actually stumbled on here because I was looking for DIy island projects for a new house I’m buying (closing next month!!), and found your post from 2010, and found my way here.

    And, just today I read the Wikipedia page for Kermit Gosnell, and at certain parts felt something between someone sticking a knife in my gut, and loosing my cookies. My husband and I proceeded to discuss exactly what you have here: where do you draw the line on when you have to stop giving an abortion, and what difference does it make if the baby is being birthed and killed, or if the baby was killed after being born fully? It seems if you follow it to the obvious, logical conclusion, that it is, in fact, no different, and if that isn’t wrong, then killing a baby that’s 2, 3, or 36 months doesn’t seem like a stretch. That’s why I think people need to just realize that they are not just removing a blob of tissue from a woman’s body… They are killing a baby. End of story. The truth hurts.

    And to me, that is gut wrenching.

    Anyway, I’m glad to have stumbled upon your blog :) I’m a Christian too!

  • Becky says:

    This is a fantastic post, Amber. Thanks for writing it. Wow this whole topic is just so heavy on my heart this week.

  • ambernbray says:

    Becky, your post, along with some other things this week, are what prompted me to write this!

    And thanks for your comments, Rakel!

  • Sela Y. says:

    Hi Amber, We’ve not actually met, but I’m friends with several of your friends :-)
    Anyway, I just wanted to add one more thing to your great list at the end: For those of us who DO have kids, we also need to not make comments about our kids being a burden. Sure, they are challenging, they are a lot of work, they push my flesh in more ways than I can count, but I need to remember that they are *not* a burden, they are indeed a gift from the Lord!
    Thank you for a well-written article, I have to say it made me tear up just reading it! I am also going to go kiss my three little blessings right now.
    Peace to you,

  • ambernbray says:

    Great point, Sela!

  • Lynne says:

    Beautiful…ellye us special needs and not a burden!! A blessing!!!

  • […] Christians need to know the facts surrounding abortion in North America (or wherever we live). Do your research. Read good books (two I recommend are Innocent Blood and Stand for Life, both by John Ensor). As much as you’re able, know what you’re standing up against—and what you’re standing up for. And while you’re at it, remind people that children are not a burden. […]

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