lu1 — 2017-04-11T17:02:04-04:00 — #1
What’s the most dangerous thing you can say to someone in our society? “You’re useless!”
Amy Julia Becker is a successful author and columnist. She also is the mom of a beautiful daughter, a fifth-grader who wears glasses, who loves reading and spelling, but who isn’t so sure about fractions and dogs. “She is responsible, smart, talented, and loving,” Amy wrote recently in Christianity Today. “She also has Down syndrome.”
When discussing her daughter or others with Down syndrome, Amy says she is tempted to list their accomplishments and abilities as a way to justify their existence. Not any more. “In so doing,” Amy admits, “I play into the idea that I, too, am only worthy of life because I contribute something productive in the world. I devalue myself and everyone else around me when I start to see human beings as products to be measured.”
As our friend Chuck Colson warned, measuring people by what they can do or contribute to society is dangerous. If someone can be called “useless,” such as a child with Down syndrome, what’s to keep “society” from deciding to eliminate anyone deemed not to have a life worth living? This isn’t alarmism, folks.
Amy says that the abortion rate in the United States for babies with Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is about 50 percent and is likely to increase as prenatal testing becomes more available. As bad as that is, in Iceland, not one child with Down syndrome was born between 2008 and 2012. In Denmark, an estimated 98 percent of those diagnosed with Down syndrome are being aborted—deemed useless.
But as anyone who’s actually been around people with Down syndrome knows, they’re definitely not useless. They have individual personalities, likes and dislikes, and often possess a level of joie de vivre that puts the rest of us to shame. But that’s not the point! The point is this: Every human being is created in God’s image and is precious to Him! As Chuck said it so well, “Being created in the imago Dei endows every person with dignity—a dignity that is not derived from the majority’s opinion (or a government definition) about the quality of their life or their contribution to society.”
Amy Julia Becker notes that not everything worth keeping can be measured in utilitarian terms and pass a strict cost-benefit analysis. She quotes the Irish poet Michael Longley, who said on National Public Radio, “Poetry is useless,” before adding, “Poetry is without use, but it is valuable.” Imagine a world without poetry! Although maybe only one in a million poets can make a living from it, we’d all be immeasurably poorer without it. There’d be no Shakespeare, Milton, or the book of Psalms! You cannot put a utilitarian price tag on poetry—nor on people, whatever challenges they face.
However, when we value each person as made in the image of God and make room in our hearts for those with disabilities, we often experience a beautiful poetry unfolding in our own lives we never could have expected. Amy writes, “People with disabilities are indeed like the words of a poem. Although they might not provide or produce clothing or shelter or food, they nonetheless convey beauty and meaning, truth and transcendence. They teach us what it means to be human.”
And let’s face it—caring for those who need us is more than a nice thing for the Church to do. It’s a requirement. As our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 25, those who tend to the hungry, the naked, the stranger, the sick and imprisoned do it unto Him—in whose eyes and love no one, no one, is useless.
Now as you know, Easter is almost upon us. And to help you prepare, my colleagues at the Colson Center have created a beautiful, free downloadable booklet of meditations on the seven last sayings of Jesus from the cross. Please, come to BreakPoint.org and click on today's commentary to get your copy. You can also find it under "featured content" on our homepage.
dave_l — 2017-04-12T07:20:50-04:00 — #2
It's all about "us and them". And as long as we make those distinctions, we are bigots offering nothing more than condescending kind words. Praising "them" for trying to be as much like "us" as they can.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
bill_coley — 2017-04-12T10:56:35-04:00 — #3
Lu, I found the content of your OP in this thread on several websites, but the original source seems to be an essay written by Eric Metaxas. Because you didn't include the information in your post, I'm curious as to which site you found it at.
lu1 — 2017-05-16T14:29:37-04:00 — #4
Who are you talking about the Down syndrome who are the us and them or is it the normals who are the use and them?
dave_l — 2017-05-16T14:52:34-04:00 — #5
I draw no distinction between people. But you and the article seem to "accommodate" with kind words any not like you. Any time you have an "us and them" situation based on birth alone, you have bigotry even if "kind words" follow.
lu1 — 2017-05-16T17:03:49-04:00 — #6
Really, you call people heretical regularly. When they don't agree with a particular bible study of yours. Again let us focus on the topic. Seems to be a difficult concept for you to follow.
dave_l — 2017-05-17T05:20:18-04:00 — #7
Jesus condemned error far more than any of us. Just doing my job letting my light shine. This is far different from trying to justify another person's worth, as though they are a subspecies when compared to the condescending "normal folks".
lu1 — 2017-05-17T10:59:40-04:00 — #8
So now you are Jesus too? Interesting... and of course you can never be wrong just like Jesus as well.
dave_l — 2017-05-17T12:10:55-04:00 — #9
Just trying to be a disciple as outlined in scripture. But I apologize again for all my shortcomings.
fred — 2017-09-16T20:44:39-04:00 — #10
I need context; otherwise "useless" is an abstract idea. What is your definition of a useless person? Was Hitler useless? Is a child with Anencephaly useless; satan? Perhaps you can define what a useful person is and we can assume a person who is useless is anyone without any of those attributes.
Dictionary definition: not fulfilling or not expected to achieve the intended purpose or desired outcome.
What mother (or anyone in society) expects or desires a child born with Anencephaly? Once a child is born with this anomaly, what are your expectations that would make the child achieve a purpose or desired outcome?
gao_lu — 2017-09-17T04:50:12-04:00 — #11
Pardon me for stepping in, but I had a couple minutes here while my wife fixes some Gingerale and Juice concoction.
I think a useless person here would be one who did not fulfil God's purpose for imagining and granting that one life.
A useful person would be one who lived according to some purpose for which God gave him or her life.
None, but we know it happens.
The child would live according to whatever destiny God determined.
[Ya'll help me out to improve this]
fred — 2017-09-17T10:43:27-04:00 — #12
Sounds like a reasonable explanation; I am sure there are others. Given this definition I think I concur with Gao_Lu. Since I believe everything was planned by God (Ephesians 1:11; Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 14:27; Daniel 4:35; Psalm 103:19) I believe that there is not one molecule that ever existed in any time and for any action/interaction that is useless. Hmmm, that being said I suppose I would conclude that the only thing in the world that is useless is the term useless
R.C. Sproul states “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”