What does the Bible say about abandoning your child?
God desires every child grow up in an ideal family, under the care of the father and mother.
God is against child abandonment because children are a gift from Him.
So, He expects us to nurture and train them with care and respect according to His ways.
Child abandonment has negative impacts on children and society.
Let’s walk through the Bible to see God’s take on child abandonment.
Jesus loves children
Jesus loves and cherishes children.
He utilized every opportunity He had during His ministry to spend time with them.
The Bible records a scenario in Mark 10:13-16 when Jesus was teaching.
People brought their children to Jesus to touch them, but his disciples rebuked them. However, Jesus was greatly displeased by His disciple’s actions that He had to intervene.
Jesus told His disciples, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (Mark 10:14-15).
He took them up in His arms and blessed them.
This verse shows that Jesus openly showed His affection for children.
Not only did He embrace and bless them, but He also used them as a yardstick to receive God’s kingdom.
Why did Jesus say this?
Matthew 18:2-5 gives the answer.
In verse 4, Jesus said, “Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Children are innocent and humble naturally.
Their hearts are like sponges, ready to absorb ideas and information without questioning it.
Their curiosity draws them toward discovery.
Therefore, those who will accept God’s kingdom must put aside their wisdom and experience and have a humble heart to receive Jesus’ teachings.
Another evidence of God’s love for children is in Psalms 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”
This proves that God is the giver of children.
The Bible clarifies that God loves us and gives us good gifts.
If this is true, children are precious gifts and rewards from God.
Children are not monsters as many believe them to be. They are an embodiment of joy, love, and laughter.
Lastly, God wants us to have children as many children as we can cater for.
Psalm 128:3 says, “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.”
If God didn’t love children, He wouldn’t have given us any, let alone more than one.
What Does The Bible Say About Abandoning Your Child?
The Bible didn’t use the exact word “abandonment.” However, the Bible paints scenarios similar to abandonment and shows different ways a child can be abandoned by their parents.
Abandonment in provision
“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)
Parents are meant to nurture and care for their offspring.
One way to do this is by providing for their basic needs.
Caring for children requires lots of financial commitments.
That is why those who do not have the financial capacity to cater to the needs of their children should not rush into procreation but work more on improving their finances.
The Bible frowns against abandoning your children’s needs because it might impact their growth and well-being.
Many men and women have disposed of their children, run away, and kept them in the care of extended families because they do not have money to take care of them.
Others have money but spend it on other things instead of giving their kids quality lives.
The Bible describes parents like this as worse than an infidel.
An infidel is an unbeliever or a sinner.
Describing one as worse than a sinner shows the depth of the offense of not providing for your kids, especially deliberately when you have the means.
Abandonment in love
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)
The verse above asks a question, and the sad answer is yes.
There are countless accounts of women selling off their children and abandoning them by people’s doors or in an orphanage because they believe they are too young to be mothers or not ready to nurse a child.
These are examples of extreme ways of denying a child motherly love, considered one of the most precious and crucial forms of love.
A mother and child share a deep connection that begins in the womb, long before a child becomes a whole human and is born.
Cutting off such ties for any reason can leave an incurable scar on that child’s heart.
Another way of child abandonment is by neglecting them emotionally.
Child abandonment involves denying a child emotional support and affection even when they live under the same roof as their parents.
Family members, including parents and children, should be a child’s best friends, even before they understand the true meaning of friendship and love. God loves the world and expresses it by giving us Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
Denying a child’s emotional connection is not biblical.
Abandonment in discipline
“He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” (Proverbs 13:24)
As much as God wants us to love and pamper our children, many parents miss it in the place of discipline.
They shower their children with so much love but do not teach them how to be good people.
There is a thin line between caring for children and spoiling them.
Eli, in the Bible, was an upright and devoted high priest. However, he was not a good father because he failed to discipline them. He did not call them to order when they were behaving.
Despite being the children of a high priest, Hophni and Phinehas engaged in extortion and sexual immorality (1 Samuel 2:22).
God’s judgment consumed both father and sons. However, the father was to be blamed for abandoning discipline.
Parents must not spare the rod to have respectful, decent, and God-fearing children in society.
They must adopt healthy discipline techniques to correct their children without hurting them.
Discipline must be done in love, not wrath. Ephesians 6:4 says, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Examples of child abandonment in the Bible
The Bible states some cases of child abandonment and the effect on the child.
Jochebed, Moses’ mother, placed him in a basket of bulrushes and laid it in the reeds of the River Nile (Exodus 2:1-2).
Moses’ abandonment was born out of a mother’s desperation to save her precious child from the bloodthirsty Pharoah, who was intimidated by the growing numbers of the Israelites in Egypt and swore to weaken and reduce them by killing infant boys.
Jochebed had hidden Moses for three months, but she knew she could not hide for long, so she took the risk to place him into the Nile. However, she positioned him so that he would not drown.
Luckily Pharaoh’s daughter found him and adopted him. In a beautiful turn of events, Pharoah’s daughter employed Moses’ biological mother to cater to him in the palace.
Because of Moses’ abandonment, his life was spared. He also became the deliverer God used to free the Israelites from 430 years of slavery in Egypt.
Ishmael’s story is sad because he was a product of impatience and a lack of trust in God.
God had promised Abraham and Sarah a child. However, Sarah couldn’t wait longer for that promise to be fulfilled because she believed she had grown past child-bearing age.
Therefore, she took matters into her own hands.
She convinced Abraham to take her slave, Hagar, to have a sexual relationship with her, so she could procreate for him.
Hagar became pregnant and delivered Ishmael.
A few years later, Sarah conceived the promised son, Isaac, and became uncomfortable with another child taking her son’s place. She asked Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away.
Abraham was unhappy with Sarah’s demand, but God told him to send them away because Ishmael was not the promised child but Isaac. However, God promised to bless Ishmael and make him a great nation.
“But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed” (Genesis 21:12-13).
Joseph’s story is a famous one. His brothers disliked him because he was their father’s favorite son.
He got the best treatment and even a gift from him (a coat of many colors).
Another reason they disliked him was that Joseph’s dream always hinted he would become a great person in the future, and his brothers and father would bow to him.
So, they plotted against him, threw him into a pit, and then sold him off to slave dealers, who took him to Egypt, where his dreams came to pass (Genesis 37:18-36).
After many trials and tribulations, Joseph became Egypt’s Prime Minister (Genesis 41:37-44). His brothers and father bowed before him, But most importantly, he saved them from famine.
Joseph’s abandonment by his brothers became a part of God’s grand plan to make his dreams come to pass. Does that mean abandoning your child is part of God’s plan? No. God works in diverse ways.
He specializes in turning evil into good. However, ensure you do not play the evil role because you will attract his wrath and punishment.
God, the parent who never abandons
The perfect definition of Christianity is God’s unconditional love demonstrated to humanity.
God has proven time and time again that He is faithful and will never abandon us.
Even when our earthly parents forsake us, God has promised to never forget us (Isaiah 49:15).
His love is sure and reliable. In Isaiah 49:16, He said He has inscribed us on the palms of His hands.
This means that we are always before Him.
We are part of Him, and He is part of us.
The psalmist understands the depth of God’s commitment to us.
That is why he said in Psalm 27:10, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.”
Most people abandon their children because of financial constraints and other challenges they believe they cannot overcome. However, God had promised to walk the fore and cross the stormy sea with us (Isaiah 43:2).
Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether you were abandoned by your parents physically or emotionally; God said to you not to be afraid because he will never leave nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Some encouraging Bible verses for abandoned children.
Romans 8:38-39 – “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Psalm 68:5 – “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.”
Psalm 139:13-15 – “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:15-16 – “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”
Proverbs 18:24 – “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”