Whether it be in ministry, personal relationships, or the workforce, there are probably quite a few people you pass by everyday that you would really benefit from getting to know. These are people that, for whatever reason, have some type of disability. However, they are every bit as much (if not more so, in some cases) God’s children as anyone else. As Christians, we are commanded to have compassion for individuals and serve in His kingdom. This would include individuals with a number of disabilities, including the following:
First of all, there are many visually-impaired individuals in our society today and many different kinds of services to aid them. A single Christian individual may be wondering just how to appropriately treat someone with this disability. Of course, the proper Christian approach is to look at how they were treated in scripture. Unlike other religious figures, Jesus did not view visually-impaired individuals as ghastly or demonic. Instead, He treated them as if they were individuals that needed to be ministered to and loved. He also noted that it was far better to be physically blind rather than spiritually blind.
Jesus treated mute individuals in the same manner he treated people with other disabilities; he loved them and ministered to their needs. The great rhetorical question is this: what did Christ know about these people? The simple answer is something that Christian young people everywhere must embrace: he knew that everyone is created in the image of God, and he showed that through his ministry. He ministered to everyone equally, regardless of their race, gender, or type of disability. The Son of God, through his actions in scripture, commands us to treat everyone as someone who was created in the image of God.
Besides treating everyone the same, I believe Jesus would have been a pragmatist. He believed that we should provide reasonable accommodation for everyone, including the hearing impaired. Simply put, if you are out and about with a friend who is deaf, you need to be aware that there are legal considerations involved, such as the need for ASL interpreters. Situations when it is required by law to provide an ASL interpreter include the following: education situations, work situations, employment situations, and even some ministry situations. As a friend to an individual using American Sign Language, you can really help you friend if you keep these concerns in mind.
Other Types Of Disabilities
This brings us to the last part of our piece, which is an examination of how we can study disability in the scriptures and follow Jesus Christ’s example when encountering a variety of other individuals with physical and mental impairments. Each and every time, you simply could not beat the track record of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. No matter what their affliction was, he treated everyone the same. He loved everyone with the same amount of love as everybody else.
Remember that those with disabilities are just like us, and they are also someone that Christ died for. Treat them as such, and you will be thoroughly blessed with a friend for a lifetime!
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