Friday, January 21, 2011

The gift of people with intellectual disabilities

Written in reference to the Blog here

The topic was whether disabled people are a result of the fall or designed by God to be just as they are.

Here is my response to Jeff:

Hi Jeff, what an interesting can of worms you have opened up here. I guess we could debate who is right and who is wrong, but that wouldn't achieve anything. The fact is, intellectually disabled people just ARE. How they came to be that way is almost irrelevant, while their lives and the impact of their lives on those around them is huge.

I am blessed to have some people with intellectual disabilities in my family and others are much loved friends. Their life journeys have been anything but easy. What has been their greatest difficulty? Dare I say, sadly, a lack of acceptance, a lack of respect.

So many people are scared of these people. (the lesser of this list of evils) Others are repulsed by them. Still others see them as vulnerable and take advantage of them. Others speak to them like they are nothing and nobody.

Yet some treat them with the love, dignity and respect they deserve as God's handiwork, a reflection of His glory, put here on earth for His Holy purposes. Too few, sadly.

I was involved in a discussion related to this myself only yesterday. One woman was telling me about her precious three year old grand daughter with Down Syndrome.

Her sister in law was (at the same time, without listening, obviously) sharing about how her daughter had had prenatal testing, aged 35, because she didn't want a baby with disabilities.

She was talking about someone close to me. I was quietly horrified. I said calmly that I would hate to think any babies would get to heaven prematurely because they were deemed to be "imperfect". I asked who of us were without imperfections and weaknesses, and did we deserve to have our lives taken from us due to these conditions?

One had a heart complaint, another diabetes, another cancer. None perfect. Some might have suffering ahead of them. Reason to kill? Of course not!

I believe every baby created by God is a blessing and a reward from Him, no exceptions, no returns.

I believe that inside every person with an intellectual disability is a healthy living soul and spirit in perfect condition, just as there is in every other human being; be they blind, physically disabled, suffering diseases or deformities, living with cancer or any other medical conditions or mental illnesses, and yes, even the able bodied people who reject Christ and all He stands for.

All here for a reason, all valuable to the God who made them, all loved beyond measure unconditionally, all precious in His sight.

Our God does not discriminate. He loves each and every one of us the same, sacrificially and not because of anything we have done or can do to please Him.

I can see God's sovereignty in each intellectually disabled person, just because they ARE, not because of anything they can do or achieve or not. Because God is God and He made them. Just like He made us. Because His grace is enough. For us and them.

Be blessed and be a blessing Jeff. Be the voice of reason in this age of self and the search for perfection at any price. To God be the glory.