Find Your Own Truth

In Everyone has one, Opinion by Marelise Prinsloo Jacob

There are certain truths in this world that can always be trusted. Politicians will always be obscure, insurance companies will always try and get out of actually paying out, and people with disabilities will almost always be Christian. Not just Christian, most times, re-born Christians.

But before I go on, perhaps I should put the reason for this statement in context.

I am a non-Christian, and hence my objectivity might be hindered a bit. I used to be a Christian though, because – and I believe this to be true with most – I was born into a Christian family and culture. My mother is Christian; my father is, well, nothing.

Let me put it this way, he has no time for the church. And so we were brought up mostly to make up our own minds. My mother insisted her children go to church and Sunday school, reading to us from the illustrated children’s bible books. But as I grew older, I realized there were just too many things I did not agree with.

It was not an easy step, I assure you, going from Christian to non-Christian, and sometimes I envied my Christian friends who believed so absolutely in something. But it was that something I could no longer believe and I had to find my own way. It took me years to get where I am today, knowing without guilt, I was right in searching for the truth, and the real God.

And with that, it brings me back to the undeniable truth, most disabled people I know are Christian, passionately so. I know people will wonder and ask ‘so what?’ Many normal people too are Christian and nobody writes articles about them. The reason I make this statement is actually a very basic one.

Disabled people feel, or are led to believe, they are unwanted, outsiders. Looking in from outside. Or rather, looking out from inside. If they are not part of the world, they might think, does that mean the world does not want them, know about them? But there is one person who does know, isn’t there? Jesus knows, and Jesus accepts anyone, even if they are disabled.

I stopped believing in Jesus a long time ago, yet that did not stop little old ladies and strange weirdo’s with dirty hair trying to pray for me. Do I know Jesus, they would ask, have I opened my heart for him?

My mother would sometimes tell me stories of when I was a baby, how her woman’s group wanted to pray for me, try to pray me normal. Another story was about a friend of hers, the friend remarked how she wondered what my family did wrong in the past that they would get me as punishment for their sins. Every disabled person has similar story, and it just makes me wonder how anyone can believe in something that will call them punishment.

I know a boy, a young man, who has a specific disability. Everyday he has to carry a small oxygen tank with him, everyday he has to wear body support to keep him upright. I saw him almost every week, and so we started talking. It wasn’t long before the conversation turned towards religion and Christianity, and I realized he was very devoted.

Devoted perhaps is a wrong word. Obsessed is a more accurate description. Over the following months I tried to keep some kind of friendship going, since he and I are the only disabled people at the college where I study. But my friendship with that boy came to an end, although we still talk now and then. He said I was wrong for believing what I believe. He said he was an example for me to follow. In a way I do pity him, because in his heart he believes Jesus is the only one who will ever truly accept him the way he is. He has given up hope on humanity and finds his sanctuary in Christianity.

I do not believe people were born in sin, I don’t believe we live in sin. All people have good and bad in them, cleaning up your room won’t get you into heaven, lying to your parents won’t get you into hell.

I consider myself a free person. A free mind, and soul. I have no absolute restrictions on my life or my thoughts and consider it almost obscene to believe in something I don’t understand. Not even that, I cannot believe in something I believe to be manmade.

God is not in heaven. There is no throne. God is everywhere, in the good and the bad. God created the beginning, and we have to take it further.

If disabled people become Christians because they truly felt God’s presence there, and it makes them happy, that’s one thing. But to turn to a figure like Jesus because you believe no-one else will accept you is almost like giving up on life. Sometimes life gets tough when you are disabled, and sometimes faith and hope are the only things that get you through, just be sure you believe for the right reasons. Don’t hide behind something just because you’re scared to stand on your own.

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