Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” What does that mean? It means all children are loved by Jesus and that they are welcome. Ask yourself; are special needs children and their families welcome at your church? It is a hard question to contemplate and can be very troublesome to most. Children with special needs and their families want to come to church, but many feel that they will not be welcomed and that there are no religious education classes that are available.
Jesus also said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What does this mean? It means we should treat others the same way you want them to treat you. That is easier said than done. Do you respect everyone and treat them kindly at all times? During our daily contact with others we can show compassion and generosity by treating them with respect and courtesy. This dignified and respectable behavior that we give to others is part of what Jesus was talking about. Try your best to treat others as you would like to be treated and you will find that it will help you so much in everyday life with getting a long with others. This also goes for children with special needs and their family. We need to show them compassion and generosity and treat them with respect and courtesy.
Jesus also said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Who is my neighbor, who am I to love? Who isn’t my neighbor? Everyone is your neighbor. Your neighbor lives next door, the person you go to school or work with, the person who lives far away, even someone you don’t know. "Love your neighbor as if he was you" means to look at someone and realize that you are just like them, vulnerable, and different. We are all different and God loves each and every one of us and we should love others too because they are just like us.
So is your church a welcoming place for families whose children have special needs? It can and should be. All it takes is a little love and understanding from all for it to happen.
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