Grace and Mercy
by an Anonymous Supporter of Jericho Road
I have a confession to make. As a child and young teenager, I did not enjoy interacting with people who had disabilities. It frightened me and made me uncomfortable. I was unsure of myself in those social situations, I found it awkward to communicate. So, I largely avoided it. By God’s grace, all this changed when I came to a better understanding of who He is and therefore who I am. There are three truths which I must remind myself of when interacting with vulnerable people.
1. As a Christian, I know that I am made in the image of God. I also know that this incredible privilege is not unique to me, every person on this earth is created in the image of our Creator God. This is where I find my value. I am not valuable because of my intelligence, social skills or achievements. My value would not suddenly decrease if I could no longer work or walk or speak. My life is inherently valuable because God made me. This gives my life absolute equality with those individuals who are living with disabilities.
2. The Bible also teaches me that I am imperfect. I know the depths of my sin, that it kept me from a relationship with God. I know that the only reason I have that relationship now is not because I earned it, it is because Jesus showed me mercy and grace. The only reason I continue to breath is because of God’s mercy, sustaining my life. He is in control, not me. I am weak and vulnerable. My vulnerability may look different to that of a person living with a disability but it is no less real.
3. We live in a broken world. There is suffering that will continue to happen until the day our Lord Jesus comes back again to make all things new. I can mourn and grieve the injustices so often obvious in the lives of people with disabilities. Yet, I also know that God glorifies himself in that pain and shows us his goodness. While I wait for the day where every tear shall be dried, I can also rejoice in God’s grace. There have been many examples of people with disabilities who have achieved marvellous things for this world and for God’s kingdom. Their lives are both as precious as mine and equally affected by the broken world we live in.
These truths are not just the foundation upon which I base my interaction with those who have disabilities, but with all people who are vulnerable. Whether that be a single mum affected by domestic violence, a young homeless man or a refugee – we are all equal. We are equally made and loved by a good God. We are equally in need of his mercy and grace. We must equally find our hope in the One who can rescue, Jesus. As I interact with vulnerable people in this broken world, I am reminded of the gospel. As I seek to show the same mercy and grace that God has shown me, I am pointed to Christ on the cross. So, as I embarrass myself by asking my friend who struggles with verbal communication to repeat himself for the 20th time, I will remember these truths. As he dutifully repeats himself, stuttering – I will rejoice in my God who has created us all equally and promises to make everything right.