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Able To Give An Answer

by Kelly Crawford

As Christians, Paul says we should “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you…” I Peter 3:15

I love this. First, it assumes people are going to be asking us something. Which implies that we are different than them. Different is not bad, people. It is not “culturally irrelevant” to be different. The Bible says it is expected!

What “hope”? How do they see hope which prompts them to question? Of course there are many circumstances, but it is amazing how many times I’ve had opportunity to answer about my hope in Christ as it relates to our children….simply because we are, well, different. Let’s face it: if you have more than three children, you are going to be questioned! Can I get a witness?

“How do you handle them all? How do you homeschool them all? How do you…”

My hope is in Christ! My strength, my comfort, my energy–only in Him!

This past weekend I had such an opportunity at my uncle’s funeral. Since most everyone there had already heard about “the lady with seven children”, questions were plentiful.

But how should we answer? This is crucial.

With love, grace and a smile. Never with pride, never terse or reactive. This is our opportunity to “let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father…”

I love thinking of answers before I’m asked them. Because let’s face it, it’s easy to be caught off guard. These are some answers I’ve either given, or thought of recently:

  • In responding to questions about having lots of children, I have found that most people just really are curious. Deep down, they want to know why you have had so many. I used to be one of those people. Sometimes I just go ahead and pull down their suspicions by saying we don’t use birth control.

“You know, about ____ years ago, the Lord just changed our hearts about children and we just started saying ‘yes’ “.

“It just made sense to us that if children are a heritage from the Lord, we didn’t want to refuse any.”

Or, the reply I gave to a distant relative last Christmas, after she insisted time and again how much trouble a house full of children must be.

Leaning toward her, with the deepest sincereity and biggest smile I could find, I said,

“You know, it is the hardest work I’ve ever done. But I can’t think of anything else I’d rather pour my life into than raising children for the glory of God.”

  • In responding to homeschool questions, remember that most people don’t know much about how it works, and they honestly can’t understand how it could be a good thing to go against the norm so much.

I know I want to remember that God is in control of this whole thing, and His glory is the ultimate reason for all our existence–and that should be evident in our responses.

If a question is related to academics or our credentials, I think a good response is something like:

“You know, we have found the most incredible thing to be true…when we make it our priority to teach our children about the Lord (the fear of the Lord, etc.)–the only thing He even asks of us, the academic part flourishes.”

Whatever your answers, I encourage you to seek the Lord, you and your husband, about being prepared to give a humble one. If an answer is given sincerely, warmly, and with love, I think we have no idea the power behind it.

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Claire June 13, 2008 - 9:31 pm

Thank you for this practical and inspired post. I always get these same questions, mostly from fellow church members and have always struggled with the appropriate response. Thank you for the biblically sound ideas.

Faith Alterton June 14, 2008 - 1:35 pm

So true. I was really humbled while in the hospital a few moths ago after delivering our fifth. I’m afraid my answers to the endless interest in a young family with five sons who (gasp) would welcome more were less than gracious. Not flat out rude, but not open for much more discussion either.

But one poor nurse stayed in my room and kept asking about our choice, our life, how and why we go this way. She lingered even after my short, final answers. Finally she blurted out that she has two children and desperately wants more, but has had a terrible time getting pregnant due to the hormonal birth control pills she took to “wisely” space children. She sat on the foot of my bed for forty-five minutes, just sharing things that she said she couldn’t with most of her family and friends. They couldn’t understand why she was so upset. Wasn’t two children enough?

I felt so ashamed at my selfishness. Her heart was aching, and she was looking for comfort, encouragement, and she wasn’t even a Christian! I nearly let my discomfort with attention make me miss this precious time.

You are so right. They watch us, and (hopefully) our lives echo Christ to them. Thank you!


Ana Smith June 14, 2008 - 4:47 pm

“Why don’t people ask us about our hope [1 Peter 3: 15]? The answer is probably that we look as if we hope in the same things they do.”- Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, p.109

We should rejoice that’s others see the hope of our Savior in us. Most professing Christians don’t stop to evaluate what hope is visible in their life. Sadly, many provide a worse example than their humanist neighbors, turning them away from Christ’s redeeming hope.


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