I remember a seminary professor named Bob Meye . Recently, Bob Meye has suffered from cancer. He has had many surgeries that saved his life and his voice, but left him disabled. He cannot swallow. As a result, his whole life is changed very much.
How has Bob’s life changed?
Physically - he must “eat” through a tube to his stomach, and feed himself on a very careful schedule. He cannot swallow his saliva, and must clear his mouth and throat of saliva by machine or by hand. If saliva goes into his throat, it may go into his lungs and make him very sick, or even kill him (pneumonia is a risk).
Social life - talking is difficult. His jaw and face don’t function normally, so his speech is garbled and unclear. He cannot sing (and he loved to sing before).
Career - he gave up teaching, preaching and administrative work. He can write but must do it slowly.
Even though Professor Bob’s life has become very difficult, he has value as a human being. He wants to be treated as a human being. He has not become a monster. He is still a human being, like you and me, although he has special difficulties in life.
What is your personal experience of people with disabilities - physical, mental, social or behavioral? Are you comfortable being with disabled people? Do you treat them differently than other people? If so, how?
Imagine that you have a disability - perhaps you are blind or deaf, cannot walk or cannot swallow like Bob. Think of all the ways that you HAVE NOT changed. How would your life plans change? Think of all the things that would be hard to adjust to. With your pretend-disability, think of all the good things you can do with your life. How do you think family, friends, coworkers, fellow-students and others would treat you? How do you want to be treated?
The difference between a disabled person and a non-disabled person can seem large. Paul writes to Christians in the Bible:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Why do big differences between people become less important when people believe in Jesus?