For centuries some communities have believed that people with disabilities are cursed. Others believe that babies with disabilities are not even human. Ritual priests or healers are paid to send babies with disabilities “back where they belong” by killing them. Many in developed countries today have accepted that babies with disabilities should not be born, so their mothers pay someone to kill their unborn children.
Disabilities come in many forms. Some people are physically hindered (blindness, multiple sclerosis, paralysis, amputation), and others are developmentally impaired (cerebral palsy, autism). Still other disabilities are not always noticeable (hearing impairment, epilepsy, diabetes). While disabled people have limitations and special needs, they also have the same desires everyone else has: to be loved, cared for, and treated with dignity.
We all have housing, medical, social, financial, and emotional needs. But for those with disabilities, it can also be a challenge to find friends, relatives, or professionals to help with basics like nutrition, grooming, communication, transportation, physical therapy, safety, and protection from abuse.
Everyone needs encouragement, support, and a helping hand from time to time. Unfortunately, those who need it most are many times forgotten or seen as a burden. How would the paralytic have been healed if his friends did not assist him? They carried him, courageously cut a hole in someone’s roof, and lowered their friend right in front of Jesus so he could meet the paralyzed man’s need (Luke 5:17-26).
Jesus didn’t see people with disabilities as worthless. He didn’t avoid them. Everywhere he went, Jesus made it a priority to meet the needs of the sick and disabled – those who were blind, paralyzed, deaf, or suffering from major illnesses.
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:13-14).