How the Bible Encourages Us to Love Those with Disabilities
- Emma Danzey Contributing Writer
- 2021 30 Aug
Once I was in a foreign country where the culture struggled with their views of people with disabilities. Most of them believed that this group of people were the lowest of society and were not valuable. Some of them thought that those with disabilities had done something wrong and were being punished.
As I came into a house, I met a young woman around the age of twenty who did not have legs. Her business was ironing. We became friends and I was able to show the love of Christ with her and even invite another to befriend her. That encounter impacted my life. This girl was so brave, she got up each day and worked hard even when many cast her out. Not only that, but she did it with a bright smile on her face. So what does the Bible say about those with disabilities?
This culture might feel far from America, but we too face an incorrect view of those with special needs. Doctors encourage abortions if there is a chance of difference. Families feel shame when they cannot be a part of events or socials that would be too difficult for their child. Students are made fun of in school for their differences. The church can sadly even push aside this group because of the extra work it takes to meet their needs.
Why Does God Allow People to Have Disabilities?
Jesus set the example of inviting all people to Himself. A paralyzed man was lowered through the roof to Jesus (Mark 2). He also affirmed that the blind were not being punished for sin. “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (John 9:1-3).
Exodus 4:11 says, “Then the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?’”
This causes me to think about the verses in 2 Corinthians 12:9-11, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When people live every day and choose joy that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit, they shine so brightly. Some of the most loving and kind people I have ever met are those with special needs. That attitude can teach us a lot about the heart of our Father. We may not always understand why the Lord has allowed these differences, but we can celebrate that He has a purpose for them and is using them for our good and His glory.
Whether a person is born with a disability, or obtains one later in life, God is greater than our small perspectives. He desires to use our testimonies for His purposes to draw people to Himself.
One example of a person from the Bible who had a disability was Mephibosheth. He was a son of Jonathan, and lost the use of his feet as a child. 2 Samuel 9:1 says, “And David said, 'Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?’” Ziba the servant tells David of Mephiboseth and David sends for him to be brought, to obtain all that belonged to King Saul. David honors Mephiboseth. 2 Samuel 9:7 says, “And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”
The story continues, “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king's sons” (2 Samuel 9:11b). This story encourages us that we too need to have a place at our table for all people.
How Can I Encourage Family Members of Those with Special Needs?
Some of the most unseen people are those who carry the responsibility of caring for and loving those with special needs. I recently met a new friend whose daughter has autism. She shared how her daughter struggles socially in large crowds and so church can be a hard place to attend. I invited her to try a smaller church with me and she came. To our delight, that church has a sensory room for those who need it. Their decision to care for the needs of others and go beyond in paving a way for this family to have community and feel welcomed into the church body was absolutely beautiful.
We too can reach out. Think about someone in your life who is a caregiver and possibly overlooked for invitations. How can you be the person to reach out and invite them into friendship and do life together? It is so important for these unsung heroes to know that what they do each and every day matters. They are making a difference and they have a special role in God’s kingdom to love in great measures.
Bible Verses That Show God Cares for Those with Disabilities
Leviticus 19:14 “You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 27:18 “Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind man on the road. And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’”
Luke 14:12-14 “He said also to the man who had invited him, ‘When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.’”
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Halfpoint
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew for over two years and mom to baby Graham. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She had the joy of hosting Her Many Hats podcast where she explored the many roles that women play while serving One God. Most recently, Emma has released her first Bible Study Book, Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness.
Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Emma also had the privilege of having been a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com