Saturday, December 18, 2010

Acceptance & Love

O Holy Night!

Every Christmas I cannot help but fall more deeply in love with the song, "O Holy Night." The lyrics clearly and beautifully express the purpose for Christ's birth and His life here on earth. Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Love is the only law of Jesus Christ and with love--when we choose to love--comes the ability to accept others. Love and acceptance of others naturally go hand in hand.

And In His Name All Oppression Shall Cease...

This song has been on my mind because for the last few days I've been thinking about how autistic people tend to be treated by others. Even now as I heal and grow, I still experience a great deal of oppression and sometimes at the hands of well-intentioned people. We (and I include those with other cognitive disabilities and traumatic brain injuries) have a terribly long way to go before we are accepted, loved, and understood by society.

That said, there's nothing new under the sun so I don't want to be yet another hypervigilant person crying out day and night for social justice over the smallest of slights. Things happen and we--autistic people especially--must and can learn to be flexible when dealing with others when they lack understanding and patience for people who are simply different from themselves. In other words, we must be intentional in forgiving people if we feel we have been mistreated or oppressed. 

Chains Shall He Break...

An interesting promise is found in Isaiah 58. It says if we loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free and break every yoke (v. 6), then "your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear (v. 8)." 

For a long time, I felt like the person wearing the yoke and entangled by the chains of injustice. Eventually, however, I saw that regardless of my condition, I had and still have a responsibility to love my brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet I'm here to tell you that as I chose more and more to set others free--free from my anger, unforgiveness, and resentment over how was treated--my healing I've experienced so far did quickly appear. The promise is true and is something you can count on.

During this holiday season, or what's left of it, remember why Jesus came. So many of us now know more than one autistic individual. Extend your love to them. If they cannot receive it, stay close to them and just silently pray for their healing and freedom. No prayer ever goes unanswered, and if we are to bring healing to this next generation of autistic children already growing up, that is what we must learn to do. We must pray for them, but the desire to do so only comes from our choice to love them. And loving is a choice which I hope you will make today.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up...Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

~Romans 15:2 & 7

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