Imperfection: whose problem is it really?

My little boy has Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The paediatrician confirmed it last week. And since then, I've been thinking about human imperfection.

Why is it such a big deal to have a child who isn't typical or normal? Why does every prospective parent say 'I don't mind what it is, just as long as it's healthy...'? Why do we all secretly cringe when we see someone who's disabled or challenged or disturbed?

I have spent the last two or three months feeling sad, heavy and dismayed by the idea that my child is going to struggle in life with his understanding and communication. But stopping to analyse the fears I have for him, I can see that I'm most afraid of other people's reactions to him. I'm worried that he'll be bullied, excluded, laughed at, tormented or just plain ignored.

How do I know he will suffer these things? Because I know my own heart, and I know my own sinful reactions to others who are different from me. I have bullied, excluded, laughed at, tormented and just plain ignored people who were 'imperfect'. And in doing so, I have shown my own imperfections, which are far more serious, far more deadly and far more vile than any physical or mental disability could ever be. The real human imperfection is the sinful, unloving heart that each one of us carries inside.

If we humans were truly able to love, having a disabled child would not be a cause of sorrow. It might create a few extra challenges, but parents would not fear for their children, and societies would care for them.

Perhaps the 'imperfect people' are part of the world in order to show up everybody else's imperfection.

Love isn't always easy. It isn't always convenient. And the objects of love are not always attractive. I'm stunned again to think how great is God's love for us that he loves us, who are truly and thoroughly disabled, giving up his own son to make us perfect and beautiful in his sight.

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