Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's How God Sees You

“What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head!” Luke 12:6, MSG

“The world is just going crazy, Aunt Deb.”

“I know Mags, I know,” I replied to my niece a couple weeks ago at a family graduation party.

We talked about our views on current events. What a great topic for a party!  With Dallas, Minneapolis, and New Orleans on both our minds—not to mention events in Orlando, France and Baton Rouge--we are still reeling, processing and trying to pray through one tragedy when a new one hits. At least that’s how I feel. As my 16 year old Brandon said, “It’s terrible that all these events start to blur together.”

What does any of this have to do with being a special needs parent?

We need only to go back and read Michele Bovell’s post to see how having 5 black sons, one with moderate autism, affects her and her family.  Michele writes, on April 17, 2015, 
“My husband and I have taught the rules loving black parents share with their children and pray to God they remember when confronted by law enforcement and adrenaline is flowing: hands where they can see them, no sudden moves, absolute compliance, no resistance.” 
She teaches these rules to her sons but wonders if Daniel, her gifted son with moderate autism, will be able to remember what to do during a heated situation and she fears for his safety.

For my part I have two sons who are white (like me) and am married to a wonderful Christian man.  One of my sons, like Michele’s son, has autism. I too fear for his safety for MANY reasons, but have never been afraid for him, or for Brandon, my neuro-typical son, in relation to law enforcement. It has NEVER crossed my mind to talk to them about “the rules.”  And not just because my husband has been a police officer for 21 years, but because we are all white.

Mike being a police lieutenant these days in a large city does make me more worried and afraid than I used to be with the current racial tension. Besides a great sadness, I feel helpless.

Thinking about all this recently I had a light bulb moment. It won’t sound like much, and it isn’t profound, but the words that I believe God gave to me were, “It’s how others SEE YOU.”

Let me try and explain with this example. As a parent of a non-verbal son with autism I long for others to see Luke as an individual and not just someone who is “special.” I want them to see beyond his different stimming movements and sounds. When we go in the community I want folks to see him as an individual -- someone who is created in God’s image and deserves respect -- and not just his autism.

Don’t we all want to be seen as the unique people God created us to be? To be given the benefit of the doubt and to be loved and respected? Isn’t that what we all want for our children and loved ones?

As a white woman I am positive that I don’t know or understand the half, or (even a quarter of it) in terms of what people of color go through. But I do know that just as in racial hatred, our loves ones with disabilities can be judged and looked down on in an instant. 

I’m guilty of this too and it grieves my heart. More importantly, it grieves the Lord. In Luke 11: 37-53, Jesus is invited by a Pharisee to eat with him. What does this religious leader do right off? He judges Jesus because He did not do the ceremonial cleaning before eating. The Pharisees judge others by what they see on the outside.

Sound familiar as people with different skin colors or differing abilities are judged in a nanosecond?

Right off Jesus knew the Pharisees thoughts and he laid into him saying he washed the outside but inside he and the other Pharisees were wicked.

Jesus rebuke continues, and according to Luke 11:52 He says to them, “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You took the key of knowledge, but instead of unlocking the doors, you locked them. You won’t go in yourself and won’t let anyone else in either.” (MSG)

That shatters me because how often do we as a church stop those who are different from entering into a relationship with Him or from entering our fellowship communities?

Much better news comes in Luke 12 after Jesus leaves the Pharisees and starts talking to his disciples and a crowd of thousands.

Again, in Luke 12: 4-7
“I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There is nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands. What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.” (MSG)
No one can do anything to harm our souls. God holds our entire life in his hands. God sees us and he knows how many hairs we have on our heads. He created so many beautiful people of all different types and abilities. We are all made in His image. He sent His one and only son to die on the cross for our sins and Jesus rose again conquering sin and death.

Thank the Lord that He made us, He sees us and He loves us. Because in this crazy world all those things are in short supply.

Prayer: Lord, help us to see each other as you see us and to love each other no matter what our race, age, ability level.  And continue to keep Your watchful eye on our first responders.
~ Deb Abbs

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. I am a Christian, special needs mom, and a person of color. I agree with you 100%. We need more love and empathy. Praying for everyone's safety.