What Would Jesus Do about Disabled People?

29 Mar

What Would Jesus Do about Disabled People?

I know, I know, Jesus would heal disabled people. Except He didn’t heal all of them when He was here. And He seems to be healing fewer of them now. But they help us find healing from our selfish hearts and existence because as we do unto them, so we do unto the Lord Himself . . .

Our son has high functioning autism. Always has had it and, barring a miracle, always will have it.

We have seen so much grace in our lives. We have had our share of challenges but 90% of our lives have involved drinking from the wells of pure, unadulterated grace.

The reason I go back to the above-linked article on disabilities and the church so often is because I need to be reminded that much of what is real around us is also invisible to us. Everything has a cause but we often guess it incorrectly. We can’t afford to be arrogant about so many things we say, because we may have connected the dots that life gives us incorrectly.

I remember a time long ago when our Joey was in a Bible class that I was teaching. There were about ten homeschooled children in the class, nine of them boys. The tenth child, a girl, had been adopted from a foreign country.

As it worked out, there was another disabled boy in Joey’s class, diagnosed with ADHD. So two out of ten, or one-fifth, had a documented disability. A couple of the other boys were quirky. Maybe they had slight disabilities or maybe they were just terminally male.

After a while, I became aware that there was discussion of our class elsewhere in our large ladies’ Bible study. It seems the adopted girl was acting out at home and it was assumed she was picking up the behaviors from the disabled children in our class.

There was, in fact, so much discussion of our class that the homeschool program was suspended for the next year. I remember the statement being made that “the ratio of disabled kids to nondisabled kids got too high and reached a tipping point that was unacceptable.”

As it turned out, months after we suspended the program, the adopted girl had to be returned to the adoption agency, with her adoption nullified. Guess our disabled kids weren’t the cause of her issues at all. Especially as she was stealing from her family and never did I see evidence of stealing in my Joey, nor anyone else in our Bible study setting.

Nice! So our disabled kids got scapegoated when people were casting about for a cause for this girl’s behavior. While I feel nothing but compassion for her and her precious family, I also know that what happened in our Bible study was terribly unjust to the disabled population.

We live in a fallen world. So much of what happens cannot be explained, or at least the dots can’t be neatly connected between events.

But we try to connect them anyway.

And we end up hurting precious people that way. Sometimes precious disabled people.

On this Good Friday, when Christ gave up His life for us, I don’t think He would mind me reminding people that we only know in part right now. And we need to live that with humility.

Let’s not scapegoat each other . . . God’s precious Son was scapegoated for all of us.


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