How should Christians respond to someone with Asperger’s?Question: "How should Christians respond to someone with Asperger’s?"
Answer: There is no “official” Christian stand on Asperger’s Syndrome. The biblical directive is, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (James 2:8). This command has no exceptions; the Christian is to act in love toward someone with Asperger’s in the same way that he acts in love toward everyone else.
There are several biblical principles that could apply to some of the symptoms typically associated with Asperger’s. Here are some tips:
Be a friend (Proverbs 17:17). Don’t ignore someone with Asperger’s. Engage him or her in conversation and show a genuine interest in what he or she says, even if you don’t completely understand the topic. If you are getting more information than you need, it’s okay to politely inform your Aspie friend that you feel overwhelmed, but be careful not to show judgment or criticism. Advocate for those with Asperger’s and don’t allow others to belittle them.
Be direct (Ephesians 4:15). Generally speaking, an Aspie does not readily pick up on communication cues such as gestures, tone of voice, and body language. Don’t hint at things; be specific about how you feel and what you need.
Be wise (James 1:5). Research Asperger’s Syndrome to better understand the Aspie you’re ministering to. At the same time, don’t rely solely on third-party resources for your knowledge; get to know your Aspie friend personally and don’t make assumptions about him or her. Those with Asperger’s Syndrome generally like to keep to themselves. Know when to attempt to draw them into an activity and when it would be better to back off. Respect the Aspie’s schedule and don’t force unnecessary changes to his or her routine.
Be loving (1 Peter 4:8). If “love covers over all wrongs” (Proverbs 10:12), then love can easily overlook the idiosyncrasies and quirks of the person with Asperger’s. Bear each other’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). Follow the rule of love.
Be prayerful (James 5:16). A Christian is to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), so praying for a friend with Asperger’s should come naturally.
In Luke 10:29–37 Jesus tells of a man who gave aid to a stranger who had been beaten, robbed and left for dead. In Jesus’ words, “A Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him” (verses 33–34). When Jesus’ audience identified the Samaritan as a man who showed mercy, He said to them, “Go and do likewise” (verse 37). Clearly, we honor God by displaying Christian compassion and mercy toward others in times of need. Christians should be aware of the unique needs of those with Asperger’s Syndrome and be willing to demonstrate the love of God to encourage and uplift them.
Recommended Resource: Asperger's From the Inside Out by Michael John Carley
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