Justin Taylor pointed to a heart-breakingly real statement on miscarriage yesterday: Unwanted Counsel during Times of Grief. I recommend it.
Unwanted counsel is another thing those of us dealing with disability live with.
I learned recently that a distant family member has been quietly questioning our parenting of Paul – that if only we had done things differently during his earlier years, he would have had a different outcome in behavior today.
After 15 years, such ‘observations’ are just so ridiculous that my first response was laughter. We’re not perfect parents by any means, but where he lands on the autism spectrum means certain things just won’t ever be possible for him, even if we had done things perfectly.
But feeling like I can ‘handle’ such comments, that they don’t affect me anymore, also meant I didn’t come to the cross and lay it before Jesus. I might have laughed, but it was certainly not with joy.
Over the next days I let myself feed bitterness, but just around the edges. A self-righteous comparison would come, and rather than kill it, I would just let it be. Then another thought would come. The bitterness grew, and a seed of anger was planted beside it.
Dragging such thoughts into the light is good for me; it encourages me to kill the sin feeding those evil thoughts.
We need to help people know how to talk to us about disability in ways that are helpful and life-giving, for them and for ourselves. That isn’t easy for me because it means I have to actually do something for their benefit rather than stew in my own hurt.
People will think foolish, hurtful thoughts. Some of those people will make it worse by actually saying foolish, hurtful things. The wounds can go very deep, right to the core.
And, thankfully, Jesus remains the answer to every sin, and to our being reconciled with each other:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7-9