“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Thursday, November 3, 2016


My wheelchair represents mobility. It also symbolizes a long grief journey.  I am continually offended when people feel no hesitation to make smart-cracks about it. I can't tell you how many times complete strangers have said things like "Got a licence to drive that thing?" or "Don't get any speeding tickets". Yuck-yuck ... yuck! They take liberties they have no business taking.  

If I was low-vision and wore coke-bottle thick glasses, would those same strangers come up to me and say "Don't start any fires with those glasses"? Of course not, only a most boorish person would do such a thing. How is it any different with my wheelchair? I don't find it funny and I don't like it. My own family doesn't even say things like that. Be careful how you tread into other people's grief.

I read about a mother of a child with severe cerebral palsy who was told by some prominent member of her church "If you only had the faith of a mustard seed, your child would jump out of that wheelchair." Do you see what happened with an awful comment like that? The accuser  sister in the Lord made the mother responsible for her child's profound disability. It was not a constructive nor consoling thing to say. It was cruel. Words can be sharper than swords. Be careful how you tread into other people's grief.

My wife
My wife does not go to church or attend Bible studies anymore (even though she is a committed Christian). There's a reason for that. Among other things, she watched how I was treated in the foyer of our church: "The reason you're sick and not getting better is because there's unresolved sin in your life!" ... or assorted other well-worn responses (including the ones mentioned above) to my sickness and disability. Perhaps it was true that there was unresolved sin in my life, and maybe that sin had been confessed. Such comments only intensified my grief and sense of isolation in the very place I should have felt safest and most at home: my church.  

One evening at the weekly Bible study my wife and I attended, she opened up about her deepest internal grief of having an abortion as a teenager. The next week, without warning, another member of the Bible study, a doctor's wife, presented my wife with a dead fetus preserved in a jar of formaldehyde. It was the same gestational age as the child she aborted.  It broke my wife's heart. Such cruelty!

My wife stopped going to church or attending and Bible studies. With friends like that ... . I could go on with these sorts of stories in our experience but blog posts should not be too long. Be careful how you tread into other people's grief.  

Here's my point: We should not be surprised at cruelties or crassness from secularists and non-believers, but it is utterly unacceptable from followers of Christ, when He showed us such love. 

Be kind. Be considerate. You may be the only Christian some hurting people meet. Remember, most people are hurting or broken at some level. Be careful how you tread into other people's grief. 

None of us know the spiritual dynamics behind other people's griefs. God may be using anguish or loss or sorrow for a divine purpose. Don't get in the way or be an obstruction to that purpose. We do not know God's purposes and He has no obligation to reveal His plan for others to us.

Life is a spiritual journey (or it should be). We are called to faith and witness, kindness and Christ-like love not judgement of grief, disability or loss. 

Be careful how you tread into other people's grief. It may be sacred ground. 



Unknown said...

I am sorry that you and your wife have been hurt by others and their unthinking words and actions. Very often we say or do because we are nervous and afraid to say the wrong thing and unwittingly do so.
Thank you for reminding me/us that suffering and grief come in various ways and that we must tread carefully on others grief.
I am sorry for this pain that you and your wife have suffered.
Remembering you both in my prayers and thoughts.
Forgive us please.

Mark Davis Pickup said...

Dear Jim - Your thoughtful and kind comment touched us both. God bless you.


Mark Davis Pickup said...

Thanks Isabel. Glad you enjoy it.