“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Who do you say that I am?"

  Some friends got together as they often did just for a cup of coffee and some conversation. It was clear that one of the group was having a tough day. He hardly raised his eyes, looking at his coffee as it swirled in his cup. He friends noticed his atypical quietness. 

   "Something bothering you?" one of them asked.

   "I am not having a good day" he replied. "I don't like the way people treat me sometimes. I don't understand them."

   The friends looked at him with concern. Sure he was someone with an intellectual disability, but he always seemed friendly, happy, ebullient.

   "I don't get these people. Who do they think I am?" he asked in a moment of clarity.

   "Some people think you are a child. That's why they teach you with flannel graphs and puppets." one friend responded.

   "Some people think you are just not a nice person. That you or your family have done something bad, so you are the way you are." said another.

   "I think some people think you are different from them. That is why they put you away from them with people they think are different because of their impairment, their disability. They think they are doing you a favor by separating you and treating you differently."

   "Some people think you have nothing to give. That's why they don't let you be with everyone else."

   "Some people are afraid of you. Because they don't know you, they worry about what you might do."

   The man paused in thought as they looked at him with concern.

   "But what about you. Who do you think, I mean, who do you say that I am?"

   One bold friend quickly spoke up. "You are the same as me. You are the image of God, a person with purpose, gifted in a unique way so that you can contribute to the Body of Christ. We can't do without you, and we should be showing you special honor such that your gifts might be seen and felt by the church. You are the same as anybody else."

   "People have not told me that before. But I hope that is who God says I am" he replied.





David Morstad said...

Moving words, my friend. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This particular post really struck a cord with me. It encompasses the entire message that you have been teaching in class. I am guilty of shying away from people with disabilities because I feel uncomfortable and am unsure of how to react. It is so common for society to separate them, teaching adults in a way that belittles them as if they are young children because they may not be able to understand. This is not showing the love of Christ. God created each human being the way they are meant to be, and He does not make mistakes. God will always be glorified, no matter who you are. The Body of Christ includes everyone, regardless of physical, mental, or emotional differences. In fact, that is what makes them unique and beautiful. It is amazing how someone with a disability can emanate more Christ-like behaviors than I do, because aren't I supposed to know better? Digging through Scripture, it is evident that there are many people who suffered from various illnesses and had different types of disabilities that God used in amazing ways. The works of God were displayed through these people deemed unimportant and unworthy, so why can’t He use them today? We need to love those society deems unlovable and prove to them that that are treasured and valued—and the church needs to be at the front of this movement. We need to be like Jesus.

Jessie said...

This post reveals the ignorance of some, and even myself at times, who believe that those with disabilities are not cognizant of the ways that others may treat them that work to make them feel separated from the rest of society. It was eye opening to see how this friend noticed this and was deeply affected by it. Not only this, but to see how others stepped up and were able to speak truth into this friend's life. In the midst of the potential social segregation of those with special needs, I believe that this is a time where a member of the church could step out, bring them in, and speak the Gospel and the truth of Christ into their lives. Every person, especially those with disabilities, need to be reminded that they are made in the image of God, uniquely formed by his hands before all of time. Hopefully, in a moment where one could feel alone, useless, and without a purpose, they could hear and experience the Gospel and be saved, no longer marked by what the world tells them they are, but rather be identified as an integral part to the body of Christ.

Anonymous said...

McNair your blog entry is so true. I think that a lot of people, myself included, take for granted our ability to just grab coffee with our friends, or go to dinner, or to the movies. Sadly I do not think that we do not actively always seek friendship with those that have disabilities or that if we see a person with disabilities we are not making active conversation with them. As follower of Christ we should not forget that all people have gifts purposefully placed within us, by our God. Yet I think that people often look at people, especially those with disabilities and just see limitations. God has designed each and every person the way he wanted that person to be. In fact reading the words that McNair had written on his blog is eye opening because even if we are unaware of the looks that we give people we are aware of the actions we elicit.
In the past when I had talked with those who have special needs, they view people so selflessly they are interested in people. I remember one gentlemen, who worked at a grocery store, said that when he goes out to the parking lot to collect carts he often gets stared at or people ignore him. He may have a disability but he is perfect able to detect when he is not being treated kindly. He is perfectly able to detect when people label him as something he is clearly not, because he is perfect. He is fearfully and wonderfully made. McNair has provided a great response of how every person is valuable. This should really serve as a platform for how we treat and view not just people with disabilities but all people. Thank you for this McNair.