pity is not the answer
“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you; for it is better for you that one of your members perish, that your whole body be thrown into hell. – Matthew 5:29 (NKJV)
How do we feel when we see someone with a mental or physical disability? Is our first feeling a feeling of pity? What does our pity do to help the individual? Many parents wonder, “Why me? “Why did God give me this child to raise? Is he punishing me for something I did or didn’t do?
We must remember that we often tend to see things differently from God. We are told that children are a gift from God, but there are many parents who may question the gift they have received. “Why does my child to this impediment? God chooses people He knows can raise a child with special needs to raise them.
I have noticed that complaining about a child with special needs is not the solution. Everyone likes to receive praise. With all children, honest praise helps to cope with life. It is harmful to feel sorry for a child because it tends to motivate us to pamper them and let them get away with doing things they shouldn’t be doing. My husband and I solved this problem by working on the Navajo reservation. I had a nine-year-old boy who was enrolled in the dorm I supervised at public school. Dale had been sent to Phoenix for surgery on both ears because he was deaf. The surgeries had worked, but Dale had a bigger problem. Every time I asked him to do something, the response was “No, Lamb!” When the kids walked to the cafeteria, Dale meandered from side to side, not standing in line. When it came time to go to bed, the reaction was, “No, Lamb!” He refused to do anything he was told to do. It was obvious that he had been taken to heart in the hospital and that he hadn’t been made to follow the rules. Their well-meaning pity had hurt him a lot.
It took a lot of effort for Dale to learn to obey. I stayed late one night in my office to work with him. When he obeyed an order, I spoke to him and let him go to bed. He hasn’t caused us any more problems. I could have pitied him and let him deal with his rude behavior. It would have been the wrong choice.
Not all children will react the same way. However, everyone loves the feeling of having done the right thing. As much as possible, troubled children should learn to do something well, no matter how small, for which they can be honestly praised and not complained. We must also remember that God does not choose what we consider “perfect” to get to heaven. As the verse above indicates, God looks at the heart, not the perfection of the body.