Friday, February 23, 2018

Loving Those with Physical Challenges – The Law of God and Public Policy: Policies Regarding Life (4)

Thursday, December 1, 2011, 2:27
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Loving Those with Physical Challenges

The Law of God and Public Policy: Policies Regarding Life (4)

Every life is precious and must be respected.

“You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:14

One could argue that the Americans with Disabilities Act goes too far in requiring concessions in the workplace and public places for those who are physically challenged. I feel quite certain that the Act could be improved, if only to lessen the grip of federal regulations on businesses and communities.

But the principle is valid: Communities and people need to pay special attention to valuing the lives of those who are physically challenged, so as to help them invest their lives in loving God and neighbor. In our text the idea of “cursing” a blind person suggests an attitude of scorn and contempt. They despise the blind who consider them a nuisance to be loathed rather than a neighbor to be loved.

We may put stumbling blocks before those with physical challenges either consciously or unconsciously. Neither is acceptable to the Lord. This statute reminds us that government is not the only source for public policies that encourage neighbor-love. The Wounded Warrior Project is an excellent example of private enterprise focused on helping those with physical challenges to lead meaningful, enjoyable, and productive lives.

Churches and Christian agencies have long been in the forefront of making life better and easier for those who are physically challenged. Perhaps the best-known example of such an effort is the ministry Joni and Friends. Churches can set public policy by example. Susie and I watched “The Hiding Place” this past weekend, which offered a wonderful reminder of the role Christians played in helping those whose only crime was to have been born with a different genetic heritage than their oppressors.

Many fine ministries and secular works exist to help those with physical challenges enjoy full and fruitful lives. Government programs—such as the excellent Maryland program for assisting autistic children, like our grandson Joe—are also worthy of Christian support. Surely when Jesus mentioned “the least of these” as being among His brethren, He must have had many such physically challenged individuals in mind.

Neighbor-love requires that we take seriously our responsibility to pursue—by private initiative, government statute, and personal example—policies which demonstrate the love of God to those in our communities who must make their way in life under the additional burden of physical challenges.

Subscribe to Crosfigell, the devotional newsletter of The Fellowship of Ailbe. Sent to your desktop every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Crosfigell includes a devotional based on the literature of the Celtic Christian period and the Word of God, highlights of other columns at the website, and information about mentoring and online courses available through The Fellowship.

In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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