In this issue we look at a very complex subject. There are many different kinds of disability which range from minor ones that others may not notice, to life-threatening ones. In a few pages we are not attempting to give very much practical information. Instead, we have chosen to concentrate on our own attitudes to those with disabilities. Each one of us can change our way of thinking, our way of responding, our way of ensuring that people with disabilities are fully included in our communities. Many with disabilities have learnt to accept their situation, but they often find it much harder to cope with the attitudes of those around them.
Jesus always made time to talk with, to support and to fully accept people with disabilities, whether they were lame, blind, lepers or epileptic. Let’s be honest with ourselves as we read through these articles. Are we aware of people with disabilities in our communities? Do we avoid them? Do we look down on them? Do we see them as someone else’s responsibility? Are there children or adults kept out of sight because people find them an embarrassment? We are all made in God’s image and all equally precious to him. People with disabilities are firstly people with abilities, people who value our love and our acceptance. If we ignore their views, their abilities and their potential, all of us are the poorer. In my previous church, there was a very special girl called Rachel. I used to help with playing music in the services. When we were rushing about before the service, getting things ready, Rachel would grab me and give me a big hug, reminding me about our real priorities. She couldn’t sing but loved music. We always knew when our worship music was going well, because then Rachel would be on her feet, dancing and praising God.