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Hand in Hand

Jesus and his disciples did not discriminate who received the message of salvation or their help.
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Our mother was a single parent, raising four children under eight. We lived below the poverty line and carried the weight of its humiliation. 

When I was nine years old, a family moved next door. Because of their skin color and their son’s cognitive issues, they were subject to unfair treatment. No one in the neighborhood would play with their young son. We didn’t know why he acted differently, but we were short of playmates and knew Lorne enjoyed hide ’n seek. The rules were simple for him to follow. It was the only time we saw Lorne smile with delight. 

We were two households discriminated against for different reasons, but we shared the same end result of feeling insignificant.

Several years later, Lorne and his family moved. Unfortunately, he never received the compassion or assistance he desperately required and deserved. His anger and frustration grew. Sadly, he became a solitary soul and died at a young age.

Do we know children or adults with cognitive limitations? Do we know how being different can impact their understanding of life, who God is, and His message? Each one has their own personality along with particular likes and dislikes. Learning varies from person to person, and individuals’ uniqueness can change as they age. 

How, then, do we walk hand in hand? As in all things, let’s follow Jesus’ example to speak clearly and calmly, give praise, exact patience and give a big measure of love. Jesus was patient with the disciples and the multitudes who pressed about Him as they sought his healing power. He took the time to be with little children.

Their belief in the LORD God can help those with cognitive disabilities find peace and contentment. David wrote:

This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. (Psa 119:50).

How? By having a sense of belonging in our ecclesial agenda and social structure, giving simple prayers, singing songs of praise, developing friendships, and helping others. 

David declared:

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall trust in the LORD. (Psa 40:3).

Numerous biblical accounts detail Jesus’ investment of time and energy in those excluded by society. (Matt 2:14; John 8:2) Possibly, there were marginalized Jews included in the multitude who crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan. For certainty, marginalized Jews and Gentiles listened to Jesus when he preached in towns, villages and in the holy City of Jerusalem.

Jesus and his disciples did not discriminate about who received the message of salvation or their help. It is good to remember God’s gift of redemption is present in all places, at all times and to everyone.

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31).

Patricia Ferguson,
Past member of the now closed
Orangeville Ecclesia, ON

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