Autism is a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal social and repetitive behaviors, leading to more intense focus on one topic than others and speaking in an uncharacteristically robotic tone. Boys tend to be diagnosed more frequently than girls.
Autistic individuals bring a distinct viewpoint to spiritual discussions. We must learn to love them even in their most trying moments.
Table of Contents
1. He loves us
History shows us that autistic individuals were often misdiagnosed and misunderstood, often sent away to asylums where their unusual verbal patterns or stimming was misconstrued as hallucinations or paranoia; many never returned home again.
But those who know and love Jesus can take a different view. Romans 8:28 states that all things work for those who love God and are called according to His purpose – including autism which can be used for His glory.
Kunkel has learned to put her trust in God’s power through her experience with her son’s autism, and hopes that we all can as well. Neurotypicals must recognize autistic people for what they bring: their unique perspectives can enrich discussions at Bible studies or small group gatherings – they truly add something valuable to the church!
2. He wants us to be happy
Words like “happily,” “glad,” and “delight” appear more than 500 times in the Bible, particularly Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs which explore in detail happiness as part of The Good Life. Our culture commonly interprets happiness as emotional satisfaction while the Bible gives a much different definition.
God wants us to find joy through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:4) and trusting in Him with every aspect of our daily lives while giving Him all the credit (Colossians 1:29).
Once we allow God to guide our life and determine our happiness, it can bring much joy. In fact, true joy lies only with Him (2 Corinthians 12:10) so in that sense we should rejoice even in trials as they bring God’s joy into our lives.
Many people make the mistake of thinking God only wants them to be happy; this can lead to idolatry and disobedience, both which He does not desire for you to do. His commands should be followed to the best of your ability; He’s perfectly fine leading you into short-term discomfort – just as parents discipline their child by forcing them to wait their turn at eating or limit video game usage – provided it opens doors of long-term happiness and fulfillment.
This truth is especially relevant for people living with autism. Far too often, autistic people are encouraged to hide their unique qualities in order to fit in and conform. But by celebrating God’s gifts and talents through joyous celebration of disabilities, autistic people can provide families and communities with much-needed joy while their unique perspectives can illuminate timeless spiritual truths.
3. He wants us to be productive
Christian productivity means using your God-given gifts and talents for His glory, using gospel-fueled, spirit-empowered work that builds community while impacting eternity. Productivity is not peripheral – it is central to why Christ died on our behalf!
Some may find this difficult to grasp; most neurotypicals view productivity as earning as much money and recognition from society, even though those can be good things in themselves. True productivity comes only through having an open heart with passion for Jesus that sees beyond one’s capabilities to see others for who they truly are and appreciates them all for who they truly are.
Autistic people can be hard to understand. Before autism was widely acknowledged as a diagnosis, children with autistic traits were frequently misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia; their repetitive stimming behaviors and unusual verbal patterns being misinterpreted as hallucinations or paranoia; as such they were sent away to insane asylums where they quickly degraded, sometimes never returning home again. Due to this history, non-autistic people may assume autistic people are all insane; in actuality it is quite the contrary!
4. He wants us to be accepted
Autistic individuals offer churches a valuable perspective on faith. Not shying away from asking difficult questions, their different way of thinking often sheds new light on timeless truths and can cast new insights. Their logical skills make them adept at fields like systematic theology and apologetics – not forgetting memorizing scripture and other texts! Unfortunately, however, autistic people’s unconventional thoughts often get misconstrued as mental instability; throughout history many autistics were consigned to insane asylums where their natural talents went unrecognized resulting in rapid decline and eventually deterioration of gifts and talents unrecognized and talent unrecognized and eventually lost over time.
God has provided us with an effective means of dealing with life’s difficulties and trials, including autism. Instead of fleeing them, we should face them head on and trust that He will use everything for His glory! (Romans 8:28). So next time you face an obstacle or difficulty remember that Jesus faced similar circumstances yet still found joy despite them; trust him and praise him in spite of it all!