This takes me back once again to the Leviticus 19:14 passage which basically states, don't curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind. In both of these cases, I am doing something to someone who doesn't realize what I am doing to them. I recognize that the deaf person cannot perceive my cursing but don't worry about how that interaction is perceived by the environment. I know that I am placing something before a blind person that will cause them to stumble, as does the social environment once again, but I do it anyway. In both of these cases, my behavior is wrong and is condemned in the passage. But there are other ways that I can cause the social environment to perceive someone negatively or in a manner that does not promote their being respected.
We must be really careful about what we facilitate. Sure people will choose to engage in behaviors that are perhaps age inappropriate, for example. As I have admitted to my students, I sometimes like to watch Bullwinkle cartoons. But it is something else for me to facilitate interactions that will lead to people who might otherwise be perceived in a respectful manner according to their age, in a manner that others their age would not tolerate if given the choice. I must be careful about what I facilitate for others. That is why we seek to create adult ministries which include persons with intellectual disabilities for example, that look like adult classes rather than children's ministries. I understand what I am doing to a person when I treat them like a child although they may not fully understand, which is why I don't treat them like a child. I find that people with intellectual disabilities who are used to being treated with the respect that goes with their age will often express discontent when they are treated as children. So it is worth taking a step back and looking at the kinds of things we are facilitating in ministry, asking ourselves, "What do the things we do reveal about our perceptions of those we are serving?"