Through ignorance and errant belief systems, people have adopted strange views toward people with disabilities:
• Pagan Greek and Roman philosophers advocated abandoning babies who were born with disabilities.
• In medieval times, children with disabilities were considered “changelings” – subhuman, Satanic beings.
• Social Darwinists and the Nazis sought to eradicate disability through eugenics and the death camps.
Thankfully, God frees us from hateful, superstitious, and deadly beliefs. His word urges us to treat the disabled person as our neighbor, to watch out for them as a brother. As it says in the law, "You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind.” (Leviticus 19:14)
Jesus, of course, fulfilled and expanded on this law. He made a point to minister to disabled people, and there are many examples of this in the Gospels. In particular, Mark 10:46-52 gives us six principles concerning them:
1. Society sidelines disabled individuals and hinders them from coming to Jesus. We should not take our cues from the world.
2. Disabled people are spiritually capable. Just as blind Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was, we must recognize that people who are disabled and follow Christ have spiritual gifts.
3. People with disabilities need Christ and fellowship with other believers. We who have no disability have a duty to help them.
4. Jesus does not pass by people with disabilities. In fact, He characterizes the people He calls into His kingdom as "crippled, blind, and lame" (Luke 14:21).
5. Jesus "empowered" Bartimaeus to articulate his own need, and we should not presume to know what a person needs or wants.
6. Whether our bodies are whole or not, we are broken by sin. We all need Christ, in Whom we find healing, acceptance, and purpose.
It's wonderful that the early church's immediate response was to rescue disabled infants from the trash heaps of Rome. They knew these truths and responded accordingly, even when it meant danger and self-sacrifice.
Jesus Loves People with Disabilities
Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities