Each one of us is a child of God. From the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, we all uphold dignity because God created, redeemed and loved us for a destiny of eternal happiness. This includes all of us and those with a disability are no different. I have had the privilege of knowing and loving many people with Down syndrome and other disabilities and they are the most amazing and beautiful people I have ever known.
Unfortunately we are living in a world where human life is not cherished or protected. 65 -90% of babies with Down syndrome are aborted and disregarded as worthless. If a prenatal test shows that a child has Down syndrome, parents are often encouraged by their doctors to terminate the pregnancy. They are seen as a burden instead of a blessing right from the beginning.
According to society’s standards, a person’s dignity is defined by their individual successes and advances. But God tells us that a person’s dignity is not defined by what they are going to accomplish throughout their lifetime, but by the mere fact that they exist and are a child of God.
Genesis 1:27 says
“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them”
Every human person is invaluable. By the simple fact that they were created and they are a child of God, we know that there is a purpose for their life and they possess extreme dignity and worth. We can all make a successful contribution to our society and help build the Kingdom of Heaven. We all have weaknesses and we all have strengths. God uses that. Every one of us is different and has something to offer, including those with Down syndrome and other disabilities. Their lives are worth living.
I know the love and happiness that those with Down syndrome bring to our lives because I have experienced it first hand. They inspire me on a daily basis to be a better person and they have brought me such joy, that I want everyone in the world to experience that same happiness and love.
We are called to see people the way that God sees you, as a sacred and precious member of His Kingdom. If we started to view people for their souls and really appreciate each person as a child of God, and truly celebrate life as a gift, I think we could make the world a much brighter place. Spend some time with someone with Down syndrome and experience it for yourself. One look at the beautiful smile of a child with special needs, should convince you that they truly are amazing. They have the most loving and gracious hearts. They don’t judge others, while we so easily tend to judge. They love without bounds, while we sometimes love sparingly. They can teach us so much about our faith and how to love others the way God loves each one of us.
Lauren Costabile is a speaker and the founder of Hearts of Joy International, a nonprofit that provides life-saving heart surgery for children with Down Syndrome in countries where families can’t afford medical care. She loves all things gluten free and strives to use her gifts and talents to spread joy and make our world a brighter place.