taking the words of Jesus seriously

You may be surprised what people deem as secular society is not where I’ve experienced the most discrimination as a person who is differently abled. Whether it was dark years facing not getting a ministry job due to my speech and body impediment or receiving hurtful patronizing remarks about my disability by well meaning Christians, I’ve been hurt by prejudices and discrimination inside God’s holy church far more than I have been as an evangelist among lost people daily. In twenty five years of ministry, here are three roots why I’ve experienced the most discrimination in God’s Church: 

1. Insecurity of one’s own weaknesses.  

A common theme that pastors can pick up on quickly is how humans judge others based on their own deep insecurities or struggles with the same issue. We all have weaknesses. Typically these are a  source of insecurity. You’ll be equipped through my debut book, Weak Is The New Strong: God’s  Power In You (Releasing 8-11-20) with insight into how weaknesses no longer need to be a reason for insecurity, but a conduit of God’s power. The Apostle Paul describes it best:

“I will celebrate my  weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 TPT)

I’ve had Christians refer to my disability oddly as a disease or as  something that is negative due to the fact that they’re not comfortable with their own weaknesses. When weaknesses remain an insecurity, humans (even in churches) have prejudices against others for what they deem as a weakness.  

READ: To Get Our Nation Back On Track, We Need A ‘Holy Recovery’

2. Church culture does not allow vulnerability. 

I’m curious, how often have you seen church leaders share weaknesses from the pulpit? If it’s not often, then how is God’s church being equipped to be transparent about  weaknesses in everyday life. When I speak or do  discipleship, whoever I’m with starts to share about their own weaknesses. Why? It’s because I’m open with them about mine, the ones that can and can not be seen. Today, I shared with someone I invest in that I’m weak in the area of finding worth in my career rather than Christ. This person is an actor in Hollywood, and he shared how he struggles with the same thing! Then we both got to celebrate how our sole satisfaction needs to be in Christ as the Apostle Paul shares:

” . . . and in Him you have been made complete.” (Colossians 2:10 NASB) 

3. Disciples confuse patronization with compassion. 

I’ve had many Christians “minister” to me by voluntarily sharing how tough it would be to be in a wheelchair or have a speech impediment. Often, these sentiments come with I am either not going through a rough time whatsoever or when I may have been struggling with something that has nothing to do with my apparent physical challenge (such as feeling lonely). I bet each person who is reading this has felt lonely, and like me, it is not always linked to any physical challenge you may have. Ministering based on shallow physical observations is the opposite of compassion. After a quiet time, Jesus looked out to the crowd, and the Word says:

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 NLT)

Confusion and helplessness is only seen with eyes focused not on the physical state of a person but the heart and soul.  

Jesus frees His people from a wounded identity into his own image. As people are discipled into this reality and healed of past wounds, we’ll see discrimination in God’s Holy Church dissipate, since those abled and differently abled will look just like Jesus.

 “And we no longer see each other in our former state—Jew or non-Jew, rich or poor,  male or female (may I add abled or differtly abled)—because we’re all one through our union  with Jesus Christ with no distinction between us.” (Galatians 3:28 TPT)

It’s time for the church  to see the differently-abled with no distinction. The first step is to acknowledge our own weaknesses and let them be our greatest strength. Then value will be found in the differently abled—the same value we all possess in Jesus. 

About The Author

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Todd Lollar describes himself as a slow-moving, slower-talking, speech-impeded, prolonged-achieving, mobilized- in-a- wheelchair, cerebral-palsied minister of the gospel—which makes him an effective speaker who inspires people around the world to follow Jesus passionately. He is strength through weakness personified. Todd is also the Hollywood-based executive director of the expanding ministry he founded, Mobilize Ministries . He received a Master’s in Biblical and Related Studies from Abilene Christian University. His service on campus ministries and to young professionals has led him everywhere, from inner-city streets to college dorm rooms to the streets of Rio de Janeiro to mobilizing Christ followers in the entertainment industry in Hollywood. Fueled by his burning passion to minister to people, Todd has traveled across the nation for two decades speaking the message of God’s Power In Your Weakness and Mobilizing Your Daily Missional Living. Todd’s testimony of God’s power being made perfect in weakness is displayed through Todd’s disability, cerebral palsy. Todd’s Amazon bestselling book, Weak Is The New Strong:God’s Perfect Power In You encourages and equips you to live by God’s power through your weaknesses, not despite them. God uses this disability by allowing Todd to connect with people. In turn, Todd connects people to Jesus.

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