I don’t use the term crippled to be offensive but to illustrate a point. You will have to keep reading to to see where I am going with this.
What does it mean to be crippled or a cripple? According to the dictionary it can be a noun an adjective.
Noun: 1 a sometimes offensive :
a lame or partly disabled person or animal
b : one that is disabled or deficient in a specified manner – a social cripple
2 : something flawed or imperfect
Adjective: Being lame, flawed, or imperfect
The term is generally considered politically incorrect nowadays because it is quite offensive when referring to a person. It is basically telling the person that there is something wrong with them as a person (implying they aren’t as valuable as non-disabled people). This is the furthest thing from the truth.
A person’s value shouldn’t be determined by his or her physical appearance. Unfortunately, we live in a society that puts way too much emphasis on physical traits. As Christians we of all people should get this. Most of the people I know get this but unfortunately many other people don’t.
Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. – 1 Corinthians 12:20-22
In the above verse Paul uses a great illustration to show that every part or person in the church has value. Every single one of us have value. This doesn’t just apply to physical abilities but also to the spiritual life and gifts of someone. Sometimes as Christians we almost make celebrities out of preachers and evangelists who have a large following or bring many to Christ.
There is nothing wrong with celebrating this but sometimes we do this at the expense of those who serve in the small unseen ways. I have heard many people say “I’m no Billy Graham” or whoever it is that they admire. God doesn’t want you to be like someone else. He designed you to be who you are and gave you the talent you have to do work that is especially tailored to you.
While people like Billy Graham have gotten many to come to Jesus there were countless others in the lives of those people who helped to make their hearts receptive. It could be the prayers of a mother, the concern of a neighbor, the encouragement of a friend, a kind word from a stranger or any other number of acts. It all matters.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. – John 9:1-3
Many times throughout the gospel Jesus broke through societal biases. The above scripture is a prime example. Jesus didn’t see the blind man as unable or unworthy to serve God. He was made blind for a purpose. That purpose was to show the works of God. God wants to work through all of us.
I think you get the point.
There is another aspect of “being crippled” that I want people to realize. Being crippled is actually a state of mind or a way of viewing yourself. This doesn’t just apply to the disabled. It can happen to anyone. Remember the last definition? Flawed or imperfect.
Technically, this is true of all of us. But too many of us define ourselves by our weaknesses. Have you ever known someone who when asked how they’re doing gives a laundry list of what’s wrong with them? They have decided to focus on what is wrong instead of what is right.
Sometimes it is the shame of past sin that can cause someone to have a bad self-image. That used to be me with my pornography addiction. I had such shame that I was convinced no one would want anything to do with me if they knew. I was also convinced that there was no way God could use me.
What I didn’t realize was that I had a choice as to whether I believed those lies. I was reading a book the other day and there is a quote that stuck out to me. One character was speaking to a recently wounded friend. “Are you crippled? Only if you decide so.”
We can either define ourselves by what we can do or by what we can’t do. The choice is ours. This is what the apostle Paul says:
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. – Romans 8:1-2
If Jesus doesn’t condemn us who are we to condemn ourselves. We are freed from the power of sin . Nothing we have done or could ever do will ever disqualify us from being loved by God and used by god. Sometimes it may feel like we’re unworthy but it’s not true. Later in Romans 8 we are told:
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
When we are feeling far from God or like he can’t use us we need to remind ourselves of the above verses. If you consistently remind yourself of these truths and still can’t shake the feeling then you may need some sort of counseling or support from others. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.