Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Differently Abled: Dignity and Dependence
Matthew 17:14-21

Rev M P Samuel
Atlanta MTC

15 and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 
It was a great experience for me to be with the children of Asha Bhavan, Pathanapuram,Kerala,  an institution of the Mar Thoma Church. for the differently abled children, for ten days as part of the VBS in 1996. Those days helped me to greatly understand the ability and the dignity of the people who are physically challenged. Those days with the children, who have their own special skills, also taught me great lessons about mutual dependency in the community life.

This passage describes the struggles and pain of a young man who was physically challenged. His father brought him, first, to the disciples and then, to Jesus. Jesus, after rebuking the disciples for their lack of faith, healed the young man. Jesus’ words and action to heal the young man throw light into the responsibility of the believing community towards the differently abled people.

The people, during Jesus' time, considered ‘disability’ or  sickness a result of sin, a curse or God’s Punishment (John 9:2). Hence they treated those people as ‘objects’ and did not consider them as dignified persons. But Jesus saw in him a wonderful vision of God’s salvific works. Bible always portrays that weaknesses are the best opportunities to experience the power of God. Moses and St. Paul are best examples for this.
Today, as a believing community we need to have the attitude of Jesus towards these people. We should make every effort to uphold the dignity of these people. We need to create the spaces that accept and include these people. As Dr. K. C. Abraham said, we have created at least three barriers against these people: architectural barriers, attitudinal barriers and liturgical barriers.  We need to take bold steps to overcome these barriers, to accept and include the differently abled people and to help them lead a life with dignity and honor.


Loving Father, give us a new vision to see your glory in the life of the differently abled people and help us to accept them with dignity and honor. Amen.


“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Cor. 12:9

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