Mentally challenged people

I don’t want it to seem as though I am having doubts, but this is one of those questions that, if a non-believer pushes me on it, I don’t know what to say.

I know there are different levels of mental and physical disabilities and some people who have them but still lead happy lives, but I’m speaking here of the most severe cases.

There are mentally disabled people who live near me and require carers 24/7. They understand very little about the world. They can’t take care of the most basic tasks, let alone even beginning to understand the idea of God and Christianity. Why did God put them here? Why did God create human beings who don’t even have the mental capacity to recognise who he is? Why did God create some people whose mental disabilities are actually dangerous to those around them? Harming another person is a sin. A mentally ill person who becomes violent doesn’t understand it is wrong. Again, that person doesn’t have much freedom to choose. Some people’s mental illnesses cause them to be a danger to others, and they have to be put in places where they won’t be around other people.

I’ve always found it hard to understand why such people are put in this world by God. I don’t have contempt for them and I do believe they should be cared for, but if it’s a case of God putting them here to see how others look after them, then it’s almost like he is using the lives of the mentally ill to test others, but the mentally ill don’t get to have any type of life at all. It’s almost like their lives are being sacrificed to see how others deal with them.

Might you be able to alter your title to reflect the much more sensitive wording in the rest of your post? The ‘R’ word is no longer really appropriate. Thank you. :slightly_smiling_face:


Are you sure? How can we judge from the outside at the relationships mentally disabled people form with the people who take care of them? How do you know it’s only a one way exchange?

I’ve never lived with someone who had a severe mental disability, but I had an uncle with Down syndrome. He was one of my favourite persons in this world. He passed away four years ago and I miss him daily.

There was much he couldn’t understand or do. He visibly had a relationship of some kind with God - which in turn was a mystery for me.

One of the things he taught me was that intellectual understanding of the world and its happenings is just one possible way of relating to them. This intellectual way was mostly blocked to him, but in terms of what some people call “emotional intelligence” - empathizing, seizing fleeting feelings, sensing at once sadness, discomfort or unease in someone, and trying to ease them - he was far, far more competent than the rest of us. He truly had the gift of loving others, and saw the world mainly through that prism.


They aren’t here for themselves to know and learn but for us to know and learn: compassion, slowing down and taking time to do things, giving and helping others, doing the basics for those we love. I worked with mentally and physically disabled children for 27 years in the public school system. The last years being with those severely disabled like those you describe. We had to lift them from their wheelchairs to the other chairs, to the changing table, to the cots for naps time. We had to feed them. We had to change their diapers and all their clothing when they had accidents. Clean up after them when they got sick (both ways). But let me tell you something, those children (6 to 11 years old) taught me more than I could ever teach them in a million years. They helped me slow down, they help me cherish life, they helped me see things from their points of view and they helped me to have JOY in even the smallest accomplishment. They may have spent years trying to learn the same exact small task but when they did it was a miracle and gave us all tremendous joy. MANY people when they found out what I did for a living said “why are those children even in school—free babysitting? Or their parents just need to be away from them so they send them to school”. We also had Regular Ed peer tutors come and spend time with them and work with them on their recess breaks and other times when they could and let me tell you THAT TIME spent with our special children was better than anything they could learn in a book or on a computer screen. You would not believe the bonds and the emotional growth it fostered in the Regular Ed students. When they went to lunch in the cafeteria ALL of the students had to pass right by our tables where we were cutting up our students’ food and feeding them slowly and seeing how we took the extra time to do that. That was a lesson in itself. DON’T EVER ask why God put them here, maybe it wasn’t for them to gain any wisdom or provide any service to others but for them to give wisdom to us and show us how to provide for others. Yep they taught me a lifetime’s worth of lessons. I hope and pray if I get to Heaven they will be some of the first ones to greet me and welcome me home.


And MANY had life threatening illnesses and needed extra special nursing care and YES that was provided for them in one way or the other. They needed to be out and about with other people just like you and me not parked in a corner staring at walls all day. They needed human interaction besides the people they lived with. And MIRACLES , TRUE honest to goodness miracles happened in that classroom. I saw them before my very eyes.


Excellent responses! Thank you.


It’s very near and dear to my heart because I had special needs nephews (3) and I have a grown son with Autism. I live it each and every day.


Jesus said whatsoever you do for the least of these you do unto ME.
So instead of seeing them as a burden we should look at them as a challenge for us to raise to the occasion and show them the love that Jesus has for them.
In some countries there are deciding whether to murder them so that the “social weight for their caring” is diminished.
Please explain what is the difference between that and what Hitler did.



there’s a difference between being “mentally ill” and being mentally/intellectually disabled.


I was bitten, spit on, scratched, hair pulled, and many other things I can’t put here I endured but KNEW it was not their fault. It was just part of their mental state. All part of the job. Some of the scars I’ll carry for life.


AMEN! Jesus is in each and every one of them.


Why are there able-bodied and average intelligence people on this earth who maim and kill others?

It’s not fair to single out the intellectually disabled.


Thank You, 0Scarlett_nidiyilii it’s most of those I worry about more.


One of my daughters volunteered, as a teen, to help with handicapped children.

Eventually she got a bachelors in nursing.

Now she is near retirement.

I was so happy she made that choice!


Working with special needs children or adults is DEFINITELY NOT for the faint of heart. If you don’t want to get your hands (or anything else dirty) then it is not the right line of work for you. It’s emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting at times but also the MOST rewarding positive thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Like others have said God sees them just as He sees you and I and He loves them just as He loves us.


Like the AMAZING gifted teacher I worked with said (She worked with them for 33 years before she retired) “They are closer to God than many of us will ever be”! In other words they are innocent and they won’t KNOW the horrors or the pains of this world like we will. They won’t lose sleep from worry or sadness like we will. They won’t worry about finances or stress or anything like that.


Bless you.


Not me THANK GOD for blessing me to get the call to work there out of the blue and very unexpected. Wasn’t even on my radar and I hadn’t even applied for the job! I Thank God often for that miracle & Blessing!


Actually: let me break this down a bit.

Mental illness is not the same as mental retardation.
You can be one but not the other or both.
But as to having “no life”?

I’m not so sure of that.

Both my menatally ill and mentally retarded patients have good days and bad days, likes and dislikes, they smile and laugh and cry.

So to claim it’s non stop misery for Them or their caregivers isn’t really accurate.


Yep they can light up the entire world around them. It’s amazing.

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