Church Education Resource Ministries


Disabled People

All of us know of people in our lives that are disabled, mentally ill, or disadvantaged in some way. Showing little attention to disabled people and special attention to non-disabled people is what I have done many times in my life. I can remember Back in my Community College days knowing a student named Henry. Henry was both physically and learning disabled. Henry got teased often not only because of his Tom Hanks look alike features but because of his disabilities. I was not the only one to tease him nor did I tease him the most, but I did target him often enough that he never forgot me. Well I never saw Henry after the Fall 1997 semester until about a year later when he got hired to work in sales at a company that I was employed with at the time. Henry tried to be a very honest employee, but because of his somewhat loud awkward voice, with the addition of his learning and physical disabilities he was sort of out of place at the company and the store manager knew this. The store manager would often target Henry by looking for all his faults, asking employees to time his breaks, and also to monitor his every move. I remember once Henry applied to be technology sales supervisor (a position I later was promoted to with little effort on my part) and was refused it very quickly. Henry knew his tech stuff, perhaps more than myself, and certainly more than the other employees working in that department of the time. But what hurt Henry getting his supervisor promotion was probably his very obvious disabilities which customers often found awkward. Customers would often complain about Henry, which did land him in bad terms with management. Because of issues he had no control over Henry did not seem the right fit for a supervisor position, which angered him even more. Henry also required a caretaker whom would assist him with his learning disabilities from time to time. This along with his disabilities made it hard for him to be a right fit for a supervisor position. In response to his denial from becoming supervisor he would always carry a small pocket notepad with him and take notes, and I remember once he brought a tape recorder in the store and threatened to record anyone that so called harassed him! Then I remember one day in 1998 Henry made a mistake that cost the company some $600 dollars. This was all the manager needed to fire Henry, which did happen on his next shift. Typically a manager who acts in a professional manor would call an employee into the office and fire him, but in this case the store manager fired Henry right on the sales floor! Henry got angry and yelled at the store manager right then and there. I know all this because I was near the scene. The shouting match was so loud that it got the attention of others, and all employees near the scene knew that Henry was fired!

Some time later Henry filed a lawsuit against the company to prove unjust terminated based on a disability or disabilities and won some money giving him a free trip to Stanford University later to earn a degree in Computer science. It was about 4 years later that I saw Henry in the store in 2002 during a time when I was a very successful technology sales supervisor. Like all customers I tried to treat Henry like he was my no#1 customer, but Henry refused to receive any service from me, probably because of the way I treated him in the past. He made his dissatisfaction with me very vocal which got the attention of some onlookers. I failed with Henry because I failed to treat him like he was no#1, and I did pick on him back during our community college days in 1997. Henry never forgot my sins and probably still holds a grudge toward me to this very day. So I will say that my example is one not to follow when dealing with people with disabilities and other disadvantages like Henry.

There are many passages in scripture that deal with how to treat such people, but I will focus on only one for this study.

James 2:1 (NIV)
My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.

This is all too often almost impossible to do as Christians. Unbelievers always show favoritism, and as the church we should set the tone. But all too often the church is just like the world. John MacArthur wrote a book called "Ashamed of the Gospel, when the church becomes like the world." In it he proves that most of the church is just like the world, and I would not for a second disagree with John MacArthur, because what he says on this matter is true!

James 2:2-3 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Heres a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet,"

So many Christians do not practice this! So many pay more attention to the rich than to the poor. All too often in church ministry in order to be hired as a leader, you must have it all together. Often in church we disassociate ourselves with those that do not look the best on the outside.

James 2:4-5 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

All too often are the poor the most effective disciples for our Lord. In a geography course I discovered that research proves that those who live in highly wealthy communities to be less reliant on God than those that live in poor areas. This is all to say that money does corrupt as the Bible says below.

1Tim. 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief's.

James 2:6-7 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

All too often my problems are with rich people. I've tried many times to receive assistance on a issue, which many of the rich have refused, while some of the poor have assisted. Notice also that in the passage the Bible clearly does not say that a Christian will not got to court or not have legal matters. There are some that believe that any Christian that is having legal problems is in sin, but this from the above CONTEXT is unbiblical.

Church Education Resource Ministries

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