How many times have you seen a person with a disability in the church? It is easy to dismiss a person or group if they cannot help you or are not like you. However, as a believer it is important to consider each person.
God values each person-man, woman, nationality, economic status, age, rich, poor, those with disabilities and those without disability. Each person is created in God’s image, even though that image has been marred by sin. Jesus came to save each person, of which believers have been chosen to be a vessel of the Good News. Jesus was with the sinners, the tax collectors, the demon possessed, the sick, children and people with disabilities. If this is true, what does this mean for you? It is Jesus who despite our sinfulness and wretchedness gave His life for us that we may be redeemed, reconciled and have eternal life, which was undeserved nor earned but received through faith. When considering a person with a disability or anyone who is different, may we be broken enough for their state that we will share the Gospel (Word & Life) as someone shared with us.
In light of the church’s purpose that all become disciples, how are we doing? How are you doing (yes you, not your pastor, friend, family, church, or neighbor, but you)? One group that is often missing in the church is people with disabilities. It is helpful to see the problem, and then ask the Lord how you can partner with God in becoming a solution. It is important to remember that a person with a disability is a person first who did not choose to have a disability. I sometimes start to think I have born without a disability, grew up in a family who accepted me, attended University, had the chance to hear the Gospel and be welcomed in a church. I could have been that person with a disability who was rejected, never went to school and who never had a chance to hear the Gospel. We don’t choose which family we are born into nor if we have a disability. If you were a person with a disability how would you want a person to love and interact with you? Many people with disabilities don’t enter church because they feel that they have been cursed, God doesn’t love them, or have been rejected due to their disability from multiple people (family, society, and sadly even the church).
What if the Lord is leading you do something? What if the Lord uses you to bring the greatest news of salvation to that person? What if you are one of the few people to show love to that person? What if you are the first person to believe in and value that person? What if you are a person who sees the gifts, abilities and potential of that person? Is it possible to reach a person with a disability, in light of what Jesus has given to you and the example which He has given to us?
How can reaching a person with a disability be lived out in practical life? There are a variety of things that one can do. One starting place is praying that you have God’s heart and mind towards the person with a disability or person you are reaching. The next step is opening your eyes and seeing people with disabilities around you. Then greet a person with a disability as you meet him at work, on the bus, in the community, at church or school. You can go a step further out of your comfort zone and visit that person in his dorm room or at his house. This may be challenging on one’s pride or inexperience, but again one needs to remember that a person with a disability is a person first who has dreams, feelings, abilities, and needs to know their Creator. In visiting and discussing one can share the Gospel, listen to the person’s story and pray for the person. You can invite the person to church and sit next to him when he comes. This person is valuable to God, as this person is God’s creation in need of salvation just as we were. Having a person with a disability as a friend allows you to learn from each other and learn even more about people with disabilities.
May we open our minds and hearts to align with God’s heart and mind on his view of all people (including people with disabilities) and be vessels of love and truth to all people who are God’s creation and are in need of the greatest hope which comes through salvation in Christ Jesus. May we be the church (believers in Christ) which is used to be ambassadors of His great love to all people (including people with disabilities). May all people (including people with disabilities) hear the Gospel, become disciples and use their gifts for the growth of the church.
*If this is an area of passion or area you want to grow in, you can contact GBU for further information.
Article By Erin Powell