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The world is always looking for an excuse to not believe in Jesus. Our disregard for the lowly can become one of those excuses. When unbelievers see the disabled neglected and cast aside, what do they think about God? However, when they see goodness in those who care for the outcasts of society, they are seeing a glimmer of the light of God’s love.
“In the darkness God’s truth shines most clear.” (Corrie ten Boom)
People wonder why God allows such imperfection. For one thing, God Himself can display His perfection and kindness through those who give kindly care to the broken and hurting.
Examples of Care for the Disabled
Corrie ten Boom and her care of the “mentally retarded”:
Corrie ten Boom was from a family of watchmakers living under the oppression of the Nazis during the Second World War. During this dark time, her family had cared for persecuted people. Along with her family, she was placed in a concentration camp. She alone survived.
Under the Nazi repression, she showed love to the disabled. She cared for the mentally challenged and had Bible classes for the learning disabled, or the “mentally retarded,” as they were called in those days. Back then, the German Nazis called these people “half-wits.”
A German officer ridiculed the young Christian woman for her useless waste of energy on “half-wits.”
She responded to his ridicule by saying, “God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us. Who knows, in His eyes a ‘half-wit’ may be worth more than a watchmaker – or a lieutenant?” The disabled are precious to the Creator, as persons created in His own image and likeness.
The perfection of God revealed through the mentally disabled:
The story is told of a father whose son was mentally disabled. He told a crowd of people to look at his son. “Where is the perfection of God when you see my son?” he asked. The people were shocked that he would speak of God this way. But he persisted and went on to prove that his “poor retarded boy” was in fact a means of displaying divine perfection.
He took his son to a park where a group of boys were playing baseball. His son so wished he could play the game with “normal” boys. And the boys let him join in! They let him wear a glove. They let him bat, and helped him to swing and tap the ball. The ball dribbled out to the pitcher and he could have easily thrown to first and ended the game. Instead he overthrew and the boy made it safely to first. Then everyone, from both teams, encouraged the boy to run around the bases. They helped him to run, and made sure that no one could tag him “out.” He made a home run and won the game.
All of the boys picked up the new player and carried him on their shoulders, cheering him as the hero of the game. The boys who helped were heroes of God, showing a glimpse into God’s perfection.
“I believe,” the father said softly, “that when God brings a child like my son into the world, the perfection that He seeks is not in what the child might do, but the way people react to this child.”
Helping those in the misery of poverty and deprivation:
A woman was with her family at a fast-food restaurant. As they stood in line waiting to order, the other people waiting to order suddenly moved away from the counter. Two homeless men had come to spend the few coins they had on a little food. They desperately needed to bathe and they reeked of filth and decay. People were covering their noses and backing away in revulsion.
The woman at first thought she would get out of the way too. Instead she smiled at the two men, both of whom were obviously living on the streets and very needy. One of the two seemed to be caring for the other, who was apparently mentally disabled. They had just enough money for a single cup of coffee which they intended to share.
Why are such people allowed to suffer such misery? The woman showed why.
She bought meals for both of the men, and touched each one kindly and gently on the shoulder. She knew that the compassion of Jesus had flowed through her. The two men knew that they had just encountered something beyond mere human sympathy. Those looking on saw the beauty and majesty of God in the kindness that this woman displayed to the needy men.
She also knew that what she had done was not only good for the two men; it was good for her as well. Moreover, it was good for those looking on! Everyone could see in her actions a ray of hope for the world through her godliness.
Shining as Lights
As we show humane and godly compassion to the weak and needy, we shine as a hopeful ray of light in the darkness of human suffering and misery.
You are the light of the world . . . , let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt. 5:14-16)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Cor. 4:6)
It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky . . . (Phil. 2:13-15)
What is the right choice for the people of God to make regarding the lives of the incapacitated elderly and the disabled? It is clear that we are to be an expression of the kindness and mercy of God in the way we care for the helpless and needy.
EXERCISE: Share and discuss your own stories of demonstrating the love of God by caring for the needy or disabled. It may be something you did or what you saw someone else do, or you might have been the one who received kindness. How did God display His love and mercy through these acts of kindness? What effect did it have on those who were watching?