You did not cause Multiple Sclerosis

I want to talk about a topic that many people either avoid or choose to ignore. It’s something I see very little support for yet affects over half the population of people living with Multiple Sclerosis as well as those living with other chronic illnesses like Parkinson’s, ALS, Lupus, EDS, Asthma…too many illnesses to even list.

If this doesn’t affect you, you can simply pass up today’s post as something to be thankful for since you are among the few who have been kept from the judgements of others. For the rest, I hope you leave encouraged in knowing that you aren’t alone and that you are an amazing person even while living with a disability.

I want to talk about faith and the disabled. Regardless of your background or beliefs, it seems there is always someone who has an answer as to why you got sick and how to be healed…and if you aren’t healed then there is something wrong with you. I have been approached with that very thing more times than I can count.

I have been told everything from I didn’t have enough faith, to I must have some unconfessed sin in my life, to I must really not want to be healed…all of which are untrue. If you are anything like me, once diagnosed you spent hours searching your heart for answers of where you went wrong in life only to come away exhausted and feeling defeated.

Something else that gets piled on top of all the guilt that is already weighing you down is when someone shares a story with you of how a person was healed of cancer or a heart condition…and you can be too if you just believe. I don’t think people realize how much it hurts to have a comparison made like that. It comes across, yet again, as saying you must be doing something wrong or that you don’t have enough faith. I’m sure that’s not the intent of the comparison (at least I hope it’s not), but that’s how it comes across.

If you have had something like that happen to you and are carrying around a boatload of guilt because of it, I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. You didn’t cause MS due to past mistakes or terrible wrongs committed. It’s not because you lived a bad life, said the wrong prayers or don’t have enough faith. Multiple Sclerosis just is. It’s a reality that can’t be explained away. It isn’t caused by a lack of faith either. It affects the best of the best, the worst of the worst and everyone in between.

Don’t hold onto the guilt others have tried to place on you or that you have put on yourself. Let it go and shake it off. I know that’s easier said than done, but I also know you can do it. Don’t believe the lies that take off running through your head. You are a beautiful person with an amazing amount of strength…more than you realize. You are not the cause of MS in your life, never have been and never will be.

We live in a world that worships physical perfection. The helpless, vulnerable, chronically ill and impaired don’t fit that picture perfect image. People are so good at pointing fingers and trying to place blame where it shouldn’t be, but in the process they are actually causing us harm, not help. And just so you know, they are wrong.

Maybe, just maybe, those of us with a disability are here to show the world that the “perfect” people are the flawed ones. Maybe, just maybe, we are here to teach others how to love and truly be compassionate without judgement. Maybe, just maybe, we are changing the world through our suffering…one tear at a time. Maybe, just maybe, the strength we carry today is helping to build a bridge for those who will follow tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe.

Disabilities are a part of life. They have nothing to do with how much faith someone does or doesn’t have. They have nothing to do with how much someone prays, reads their Bible or takes part in worship. They do, however, have everything to do with being human.

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” – Fred Rogers

11 replies
  1. Percy Thomas Jr
    Percy Thomas Jr says:

    I really like the statement, “love and be compassionate”. Those are very encouraging words. In this disease and in all things we all need to look to the hills from where our help comes from. Our help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and Earth. Keep the faith.

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    I have a good faith and am an elder in our church. I know that God does some amazing things that are real and not to be lost. If, for instance, if we didn’t have MS would we still be in touch with the rest of the world? I am also on the MS Team site and both of these give me encouragement to live my life the way we want.
    So far there has been no link to be found that is MS, and there is no cure for this mess. I know that God could recreate ourselves but where would that leave us? I know He has a plan for us and we have to live with that the best we can.

  3. Miri
    Miri says:

    I so love this.
    As a pagan, I get the “Oh, you chose to have this because of past life transgressions”
    So it’s not only things I’ve done wrong in this lifetime that I am getting s*** about, its supposed previous lifetimes that I’ve buggered up in too.

  4. kerry pic
    kerry pic says:

    Thank you Penelope, one day, walking out of supermarket using my cane, proud I completed 15 laps of supermarket, phew! lady comes towards me with a book. I stopped to look thinking she needed help, realised she was about to push her faith on me with a brochure, i politely told her no thank you, i have my own religion, and she says “not working out too well for you, is it!” I was too flabbergasted to respond. i can laugh about it now.

  5. KT
    KT says:

    I would like to send this to everyone who has ever been this person. It is draining to hear these people. Absolutely draining. Thank you for saying it.

  6. Denease
    Denease says:

    Penelope, some of the examples that you wrote about in the article, I have experienced the same in my faith walk; However, whether I am “healed” of MS does not negate the fact that God is still God. Your article was spot on as this condition is no fault of our own so I would challenge anyone who is facing a condition not to “take on” the condition. Just because you have been given a diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to ‘live it or wear it’! Thanks again for sharing!

  7. Shaf
    Shaf says:

    Beautifully written.
    But my thing is that everything can be blamed on someone, and there is no one else to blame for MS… So it must therefore be MY fault!

  8. Meeya
    Meeya says:

    One of the worst things is that my parents started thinking THEY might have done something that caused my MS… Like smoking when I was around, vaccinations I had/ didn’t have…😵


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