“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” – Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)
What do you call a person without sight? Blind.
A person who does not hear? Deaf/HOH.
A person who cannot walk? Paraplegic.
There are more, but all fall under the general term: disabled.
In this, we only see what is lacking. The lack of capability, the loss of potential, the “brokenness” that comes with disability(s).
But what if I told you that all of us have a disability of a spiritual kind? Let’s read:
“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.” – Ephesians 2:1-3 (NLT)
One thing that people with disability(s) will tell you is that all they need is to be fully equipped. Whether it be through technology, sign language interpreters, alternative text, changes in the environment, visual aids, etc., these require people to band together in order to support the member of society with disability(s). Equipping people with disability(s) regardless of cost requires compassion. No, it actually requires more – love.
Love is how God treats us, all of us, who are spiritually sick, who are spiritually incapable of redeeming ourselves.
Rather than being apathetic to our wretched state, God sent Christ to suffer as we did, and through His suffering, He is able to empathize with us. He is compassionate towards us.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” – Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)
Instead of refusing to accommodate for our weakness, God gave all the tools and resources we need in order to live our lives in a way that pleases Him. The Bible specifically states that we are prepared and equipped through His Word!
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
Moreover, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth!
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” – John 16:13 (ESV)
If we receive all these good things from the Lord, how can we not help those with disability(s) in our communities by equipping them with what they need? Indeed, we all are without excuse. Either in our complacency, lack of compassion or laziness, when we do harm to our neighbor, who’s to say that God will provide when we know we have the capacity and the means to do so?
It is written: “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” – James 2:15-16 (NLT)
And again: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:17-18 (ESV)
Since God has equipped us fully, let us no longer actively and/or passively deny those in need. Be filled with His Spirit, moved through love for others in Christ.