And if you insist on the nearly useless phrases, "vision- or hearing-impaired," you have to be much more specific. Blind is usually 100% blind, unless it is qualified with a word like, "legally." Vision-impaired can be just about any percentage. So are you going to stop the person and ask before you label them or take a chance on getting the percentage completely wrong, which you probably will? My husband is deaf. But how deaf? "Profoundly deaf," which is 90%, but might as well be 100% because he can stand beneath a blaring commercial fire alarm and not hear it. "Hearing impaired" doesn't begin to explain all that. I am beginning to think that we disabled folks are a whole lot tougher than the able-bodied people out there who come up with these things.
Jesus, in fact, would be castigated by these people. Look at John 9. John, the apostle who wrote this gospel, tells us the man in verse 1 was "blind." The apostles called him "blind" (verse 2). The Pharisees called him "blind" (verse 19). His own parents said he was "blind" (verse 20). The man himself said he had been "blind" (verse 20). And then, lo and behold, Jesus does the unthinkable and talks about being spiritually "blind" (verses 39.40). Didn’t he know that was offensive to the blind people out there?
And this is not the only time he did things like this.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand (Matt 13:13).
Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? (Mark 8:18).
He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them (John 12:40).
And just as the above quote Jesus took from Isaiah, that prophet and others used the same type of language Jesus did.
Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed (Isa 6:10).
His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber (Isa 56:10).
This was for the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed in the midst of her the blood of the righteous. They wandered, blind, through the streets; they were so defiled with blood that no one was able to touch their garments (Lam 4:13-14).
I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung (Zeph 1:17).
Even Paul uses the same metaphor.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them (2Cor 4:3-4).
I think that's enough to make my point. We are getting entirely too arrogant in our policing the speech of others when that same policing condemns the apostles, the prophets, and Jesus himself. No, if you want to show compassion on the disabled, please don't think words are either the problem or the cure. My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth (1John 3:18). Show your compassion with deeds as well.
In the past year my profoundly deaf husband, who must read lips, has been treated like a pariah. He has been shooed out of the Alachua County Library because he dared tell them he couldn't understand what they were saying with their masks on. A nurse in a doctor's office refused to either take down her mask or write down her instructions, and this right before a medical procedure when he needed to know what she was saying. Another nurse in another office spoke to him harshly when he told her he needed to read her lips, yet refused to allow me in to interpret for him. And all this in a decidedly left leaning county that claims to have far more compassion on the disabled than their political opposites.
But for those of us who claim Jesus as our Lord, how can we love the disabled in deed rather than merely word? Stop making power point the be-all-and-end-all for hymns and class and sermon notes. How many times have I heard a teacher or preacher say, "I won't take the time to go over all these passages, but you can take them down and study them at home?" No, I can't. If they are important perhaps you could print out a copy for those of us who can't see the screen--large print, please.
There may be some like me who can manage a hymnal with glasses or a magnifier if you will kindly have the books handy and please announce the name of the song rather than just starting to sing "because it's up on the screen." Those few seconds might mean someone can find the song and only miss part of a verse instead of half or more of the song trying to figure out the title and look it up.
Please stop having prayers mumbled from the back pew. It isn't just the deaf who do better reading lips. And when you do stand in front of the mike, keep your head up and speak out even if it sounds "too loud" to you.
I have asked for these kinds of things over and over and over, as politely as possible, and it seems to do little good. In fact, if you will excuse me, it falls on "deaf" ears—and no, my husband does not mind me putting it that way. We have actually had people refuse to do them, even after we explained.
And stop the speech police. Lists like the one I mentioned at the beginning of this article offend me in at least two ways. First, they assume that I am such a weak, whiny wimp that I will be insulted by such petty things. I have been living with far worse my entire life, and I think I am strong enough to handle it. And second, they make other people uncomfortable even trying to talk to us as a couple. Believe me, I had far rather have someone actually pay attention to us and possibly say something a little insensitive, than have everyone too afraid to even try.
Let's see if we can't love one another as the scriptures say rather than making problems where there aren't any.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1Cor 13:4-7).