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But What Should I Say?

Oftentimes, people respond to those of us with disabilities in one of three ways:

1) There is the awkward response where the disabled person is just ignored.

2) There is the response which demonstrates impatience, frustration, and a general lack of understanding.

3) Then there is the response of grace and compassion.

During the course of the past 40 years, I have actually experienced all three of these responses several times over. Please understand, I DO get it, people with disabilities are different and sometimes people are not sure HOW to respond. Therefore, I would like to present both a perspective and challenge.

Believe it or not, this is NOT a new issue for those of us with disabilities at all. Historically, the disabled have faced numerous barriers in society and these barriers contribute to how people respond to them. Take for example in Matthew 20, the situation where two blind men are crying out to Jesus and the crowd around Him becomes rather annoyed with them, "the multitude sternly told them to be quiet" (vs. 31). There is so much that can be learned from this passage because it demonstrates a few things for consideration. First and foremost, is the common response to those with disabilities. This passage also reflects the natural and human desire of those with disabilities to be acknowledged, as these men are persistent and not afraid to be heard. A final lesson in this passage is Jesus's response to these men with disabilities, He does not get frustrated with them and He does not ignore them. Jesus's response is intentional and direct, clearly showing His humanity and His power as He is, "moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him" (vs. 34).

Those of us with disabilities are people too. According to Genesis 1:27, those with disabilities are created in the image of God just as everyone else and THIS perspective is the key. Jesus's example is the perfect model to follow when it comes to responding to those of us who are disabled. It truly is a win-win for everyone.

This photo was taken in beautiful Crested Butte, CO.

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