Friday, February 15, 2013

Those With Disabilities Are Human Too

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
~ Romans 3:23, NLT~

On a day when the rest of the world was enamored with love, giving chocolates and roses, the news blared with the shocking report of a murder in South Africa.  Six time paralympic gold medal winner, Oscar Pistorious had been arrested and charged with gunning down his girlfriend of 2 months, Reeva Steenkamp.  In no time, neighbors and the police took the liberty of telling the world that there had been previous domestic disputes at the home.

The amount of air time this story received seemed disproportionate.  The disbelief surrounding the murder was almost palpable.  How could a gifted athlete, overcoming the unbelievable adversity of disability to a point where he was able to compete in the regular Olympics, throw it all away with 4 bullets?

This story is a clear example of the discord between human thinking and God's thinking.  People love to root for the underdog.  Because of their challenges, those with disabilities are considered foremost amongst those underdogs.  Should a person with special needs overcome their adversity in powerful or notable ways, our culture almost grants them saint status.  

The faulty human thinking seems to go like this:  The person with a disability was wronged by life.  They conquered that limitation.  Because they overcame that wrong, they are right and good, and surely have a place reserved for them in heaven.

Pistorious' aggression proves God's view with a more pronounced contrast.  None of us are good enough.  All of us are hopeless sinners.  We need the Savior.  Even the most awesome accomplishments by man's standards are not enough to earn our way into heaven.  Perhaps this is why a news story of this nature is so utterly disturbing to society.

Yet, as Christians, we have a boundless hope to share with the world.  Even after the heinous crime of murder, there is still redemption.  Jesus can wash away our darkest crimes.  He lifts us from every shortcoming and deep pit of this life, and He makes all things new and beautiful.

How much our Christian worldview ought to motivate us to pour this message of hope into our children!  Whether our child has autism, cerebral palsy or a serious heart condition, they are a hopeless sinner.  God does not owe our children heaven because of their special needs.   That may be a shockingly painful message to hear, but it is truth.  However, whether our child is non-verbal, cognitively delayed or seemingly typical, Jesus still died for them.  We need to pour that message into our children!  God promises His word will not return to Him void, but will accomplish the very purpose it was sent forth to do.  (Isaiah 55:11)  That means we can rest secure in the assurance that if we do our part as parents, God will take care of the rest.

When our children with unique abilities have a love for Jesus, no matter what their cognition, the world stands up and notices.  Our kids have every reason to be discouraged, bitter and hopeless by the world's standards.  Yet, when they have learned to trust in the Lord alone, they bear the message to the culture that our hope does not lay in athleticism, intellectual prowess or any sort of human accomplishment, but Something far greater than the unreliability of this world.

Let Oscar Pistorious' sad story be a cautionary tale to you.  Go ahead and encourage your child to achieve all that they hope to, but grow your child first and foremost on the foundation of Christ.

PRAY:  Oh, my God, it is so easy to have my attention drawn away from Your standards and onto the world's standards.  Grant me wisdom and perseverance in raising my child to know and love You.  Gently, remind me when I am getting off track.  Use my child as Your powerful ambassador to a misguided world.

1 comment:

  1. Powerful, Barb, and you have the moral and practical authority to write (speak)! May your voice be heard far and wide as you are spot-on!