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Ninth-grade winner, 2014 Archdiocese of Omaha Pro-Life Essay Contest

Homeschool and St. Peter Parish, Omaha

Our culture often views people with disabilities as somehow less valuable than people without disabilities. This is dreadfully wrong because even if a disabled person cannot get a job, do things independently, or looks different from other people, that person is still a priceless human being. Each disabled person possesses the dignity of being a child of God and made in his image. Every life is created by God for a reason and is therefore valuable. Sadly, our modern culture frequently disrespects and undervalues disabled people and does not realize that we can learn to “express love in action” from them.

The world gives a person value based on looks, talents, and worldly success; God, however, values each person because he made them. The culture disrespects the disabled when it judges them by appearance or by what they can contribute, rather than by who they are, God’s beloved children. People often view someone in a wheelchair as less valuable than a professional football star. Sometimes a person with disabilities is so undervalued by his parents that he is not even allowed to be born. For example, often parents are advised to abort an unborn baby if it has something physically wrong with it.

Jesus told us in Matthew 25:40, “…as you did to one of these least of my brethren, you did to me.” This reminds us to see Jesus in every person and to treat these children of God as we would treat Jesus himself.

Disabled people can teach us how important “expressing love in action” is because in a way, they are like children in their reliance on others. When we are with them, they give us a great opportunity to show our love to them in our actions. Because love is not just a feeling, when you love someone, you try to show your love by doing things for that person. If you did not show it, how would the person know they are loved? People with disabilities give us a chance to learn how to express our love. A person’s disability gives those who care for the person a chance to love as Jesus loves. People with disabilities are not just a burden to society; they are blessings from God and can teach us how to serve others with love.