Differently Disabled

For Cain, it was envy: he just couldn’t stand seeing his brother blessed.

For Solomon, it was the women: he just could not get enough of them.

For Peter, it was his mouth: he just couldn’t keep it shut.

scratch backThe Bible is a cast of characters that struggled with different weaknesses, confronted different challenges and succumbed to different battles. A similar tapestry can be seen in the world we are presently living in. For example: I don’t get how some people can be so inebriated by sports to the point of hurling insults at their friends. A friend of mine doesn’t see how I could be addicted to Facebook. My cousin stumps me with his kleptomania, even in broad daylight! My friend would rather sleep hungry than sober.

The point: We all have different struggles. It sounds moot. But think about it.

Every time we talk about the differences in human beings, we tend to highlight the different strengths, not the difference in weaknesses. One of my favorite songs by Casting Crowns, City on the Hill, beautifully presents the lack of appreciation of our unique differences:

You see the poets thought the dancers were shallow

And the soldiers thought the poets were weak

And the elders saw the young ones as foolish

And the rich man never heard the poor man speak

Each one thought that they knew better

But they were different by design

Instead of standing strong together

They let their differences divide

The song pointedly – and rather appropriately – chastises the Body of Christ for failing to appreciate our differences. However, the song is one sided as it focuses on differences in “strengths”. But how often do we focus on our differences in terms of weaknesses? Are we only differently gifted but equally disadvantaged? Are we only differently blessed but equally cursed? No. While I understand that it is only natural (and commendable) to focus on the positives, sometimes it helps to examine the negatives. It is in understanding the nature of sin that we become wise on how to deal with it.

Even though we are to major on God, and not the devil, we cannot entirely dismiss or ignore the devil. It is important to know his tricks, if only so that we can best prepare ourselves to fight. Even so, I am not so sure what I am talking about here is the devil’s work. I believe that our different weaknesses are a product of God’s, not Satan’s, design. We have different blind-spots. And just as we have been designed and gifted differently so that we can be most effective working as a Body, we also have different weaknesses and blind-spots so that we can be most effective fighting sin as a Body.

We are differently disabled.

The chord of three strands is not easily broken: not because each strand is as strong as the others, but because each strand is differently strong.

Iron sharpens iron because the rough edges of one piece of iron rubs against the rough edges of another piece of iron.

In the same way, one weak man can strengthen another weak man because they are differently disabled. You can see my blind-spots, and I can see yours. I cannot see mine (that’s why they are blind-spots) and you cannot see yours. But together, we can scratch each other’s back.

As the Body of Christ, we need each other. Not only so that we can flex our different muscles and celebrate each other’s unique strengths and abilities; but also so that we can help each other recognize and battle each other’s weaknesses and disabilities.

Instead of denying disability, or rebranding it as “differently abled”, perhaps what we need to do is recognize it for what it is, recognize that we are all “differently disabled”, and seek to help each other become better, together.

For the fame of His name,


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