I’ve been reading about ADHD and finding the latest research fascinating. Especially what doctors and scientists have been able to learn from brain scans. Physiological differences can be seen in ADHD brains and neurotypical brains. Those differences affect the way people perceive themselves and the world around them. My interest in ADHD isn’t random. It’s personal. Recently someone recognized signs of it in me, so I’m doing some investigating. What I’ve found so far has helped make sense of things in my life. My brain works differently than most people’s brains (4.4% of adults in the US have been diagnosed). It always has, but I’ve worked hard, really hard, to make it work neurotypically (non-ADHD). Sometimes I have so much going on mentally and emotionally that it’s hard to think clearly, remember important information, or focus on what people around me need. Unfortunately, no one can see that, like they can see me sitting in a wheelchair or carrying my arm in a sling. So, assumptions are made on appearances without knowledge. Judgments are communicated, verbally and non-verbally. I become easy prey for the lie of “not good enough,” which leads to feeling embarrassed, a form of shame.
We know there were people who didn’t know who Jesus really was or understand His mission. They made assumptions and judgments based either on their ignorance or their arrogance. Was He tempted to feel shame because of the things said to Him and about Him? According to Hebrews 2:17 I believe He was, and that encourages me. Each time He was questioned, accused, or condemned He responded with confidence in who He was – the beloved Son of God. I don’t have to believe what some people think about me. The truth is that I am holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4) because my life is hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3), and I am greatly loved (Ephesians 2:4).
Receiving love and acceptance from Him frees me to love others, so I’ve also been drawn to looking at how Jesus treated people who felt shame. A leper ostracized from society (Matthew 8), a woman with a blood disease (Mark 5), a hated tax collector (Luke 19), and an immoral woman at a well in Samaria (John 4) come to mind. He saw beneath their circumstances and behaviors. He addressed them with compassion. I want to remember that when I’m confronted with people in awkward circumstances or exhibiting uncomfortable behaviors. They’re probably already feeling shame and need my compassion.