Archive for the 'spiritual gifts' Category

Special Needs — Special Spirits

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I haven’t told too many people this before, but there’s a thing I do to calm down when life gets really hectic.

When you ask most people how they calm down, they’ll tell you they meditate, or breathe slowly, or maybe take a pill or something. If they’re followers of Christ, they may say that they pray or read the Bible. I’ve done most of these things, but that’s only because they’re a bit more convenient than the way I know that works best for me.

My way of reducing stress involves hanging around people with special needs.

You see, I have what the Bible calls the gift of discernment, which is one of the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12. I have other gifts, but when I test for it, my gift of discernment is kind of off the charts. By the way, if you haven’t taken a class on the gifts, or haven’t taken a test or two attempting to figure out your gifts – and yes, you definitely have at least one – then I really encourage you to do so. I mean, if you spend enough time in the world, you’ll take about 20 personality tests that try to figure out how you work with other people (so you can say, for example, “I’m a purple introverted INXP!”). A spiritual gifts test will tell you how you work with other people according to God’s purpose for your life, and that seems like a more useful thing to know.

Anyway, discernment simply means that I can discern spirits, good and bad. When it’s strong, I can sense spirits from a distance and in varying degrees. Like a lot of things, that can be a blessing and a curse. For example, you’d think that certain places, like churches, would only have good spirits in them. Not true. And you’d think other places, like cemeteries, might have bad spirits in them. In fact, I’ve found that cemeteries tend not to have any spirits in them at all (which makes cemeteries a fabulous place for me to run in peace.) I’m drawn to people with good spirits, and I have had to work in the world with people with not-so-good spirits. Of course, there’s more to it than all of this, and those of you with discernment know how quickly you can freak people out if you talk about it too much or explain all the different ways it works.

This is a roundabout way of saying that when I’m in the presence of people with special needs, I sense only good spirits – really, really good spirits – and that being around them calms me down. In fact, if I’m feeling especially weird, I’ll go looking for them just to be in the presence of their spirits. There’s something so pure and good inside each one of them, and I’m reminded of God’s love and presence in every one of us. I am reassured by a God who takes a human body that some people will unfortunately say is “bad” or “not normal”, and then places a spirit inside them that shines so brightly. I think it’s one of His ways of, once again, explaining the Kingdom as a place that is simply different from this world.

Not too long ago, the well-known atheist, Richard Dawkins, commented on what a woman should do if she learned that her baby was going to be born with Down syndrome. He said, “Abort it and try again.” Like a lot of what Dawkins says, it’s not so much shocking as profoundly sad, and wholly neglects even to imagine what a beautiful emissary for God’s Kingdom a child with Down syndrome would be.

I mention this last thing not to condemn him or to depress you, but only to emphasize the vast difference between the natural and the supernatural worlds. We live in the natural world, but the supernatural world is our home, and it’s clearly that world that gives you the best insight into special needs people. So if you see a person with special needs, remember what a discerner told you about them. Special needs – special spirits.

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