Lies We Tell

This evening as I try to process everything I have seen and done in Guatemala, I am struck at the lies we tell ourselves as it relates to poverty.

Here are a few I am wrestling with:

1. True poverty only exists in Africa. A few months ago when Shaun asked me to participate in the Compassion trip to Guatemala, I quickly agreed. Then for just a moment I hesitated. I wanted to see true poverty and feared I would not see it in Guatemala.

As you scan through the pictures of children who need sponsors, you might be tempted to make the same mistake. You might convince yourself that the need is not great enough in Guatemala. You take one look at their Puma shirts and blue jeans and decide to make an investment in a child somewhere where it would have a greater impact.

Hear me when I say this. Your sponsorship matters here.

Your financial and spiritual investment in the children of Guatemala will save lives and transform families. Without the help of Compassion and generous people like you, these kids most basic needs will not be met.

2. Financial wealth brings peace and joy. Take one look at Werner. The boy lights up a room.

Happy as a lark, that kid. But as we cautiously entered his home it became obvious that his joy has nothing to do with his financial wealth or security. Because truth be known, everything Werner “owns” is tucked neatly into a small room tucked on the side of a hill that he shares with his mother and his big brothers. A small room that was just rebuilt with the help of Compassion after an all-too-common-in-these-parts mudslide.

3. Global poverty is not our problem. Sometimes I catch myself thinking surely there is someone more qualified, better equipped, or more passionate than me to step in and save these children.

But we need to stop being deceived. As Christians, poverty is our problem.

Because really how do you argue with this?

If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? Once God’s love takes hold of a person, it is impossible for him to close his heart to his brothers and sisters in God’s family. My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. 1 John 3:17-19 (The Voice)

Click here if you are interested in learning more about child sponsorship through Compassion International.

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Great post Lindsey. Coming at it from a perspective of blowing away myths is a great way to get this message across. All too often we can get focused on one part of the world and forget that poverty is everywhere.
    My recent post The video that didnt make the cut for The Nines

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  • I pray that your heart continues to explode and that anything "limiting" in you is destroyed. I am looking forward to hearing/seeing the expanded vision that God births in you as a result of this trip.
    My recent post Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen Cover

  • Caitlin

    I love your posts! I have been "stalker" reading you(no comments) until now. I went and looked up your verse, because I liked it, and realized as I was doing so…there is no 1 James… lol…oops. I thought I'd share. I searched through some books that had "firsts" and found it in 1 John 3:17-19, and I truly do like that verse! Just wanted you to know before someone accused you of writing extra books. Keep sharing your trip with us so well! Thank you.

    • Thanks. That is supposed to be 1 John. Changing it now. Oops!

  • I have loved reading your thoughts over the last few days, and I am grateful that you have chosen to go on this trip. I love your honesty, especially on the last post about “Someone to Love.” Such a good picture of choosing to move beyond our expectations to those right in front of us who need love.

    I love this post, too. Love the reminder of the lies we often believe about poverty–especially that somehow it is not my problem, and I can’t really make a difference, anyway. Such a lie that moves us all to inaction. I love that you exposed some of that in this post.

    Thanks for going. Thanks for writing, Lindsey . . . .

    Love, Laura

  • Eve Annunziato

    What a wonderful word, Linds and a great reminder. I often need gentle (or hard depending on my season) pushes outside of my little box, my world of comfort and complacence. Thanks for being a beautiful voice! love ya and miss ya tons!
    My recent post My Fabulous New Ministry Venture!

  • Thank you for your post! We adopted our first son from Guatemala and it breaks my heart to see where he may have been were it not for the grace of God. Our family has compassion for these children. We already sponsor on little boy through World Vision, but yours is the third thing I’ve seen about Guatemala. I’m thinking maybe He’s calling us to sponsor another child or take a mission trip

    • I sponsor two kids with Compassion and one with World Vision. Both are great organizations. But seeing firsthand Compassion's focus on children and Jesus moved me…in a big way.

  • Karen

    Great thoughts Lindsey! I am so glad to be able to follow your journey through a country that stole my own heart 6 years ago. What a beautiful place and what beautiful people. I'm excited to catch up with all of the bloggers' posts from the trip when I have time this weekend. Thanks for sharing with us all!

    My recent post Finding Purpose In Our Everyday Tasks

    • I can't wait to go back an reread your posts about Guatemala and compare notes.

  • The smiles on those faces definitely disprove lie #2 – I want that kind of joy. Thank you for your words Lindsey!

  • Stephen

    Brilliant. "…how do you argue with this?"

    You don't.

  • Jack Gannon

    For most of my life I ignored the poverty I read about or saw on TV and figured out of country stuff was for those called to full time missions work. My job then changed creating business travel to many not so affluent countries which I believe God allowed to place "real" poverty right in my ignorant face. My heart broke…. Five years ago, God allowed circumstances to have a small group of us work for a week at an orphanage of 160 children just outside Guatemala City. I also visited the garbage dump in Guatemala City where thousands of people "live" and where most of these orphaned children are rescued from. I just cried at what I saw. I've been back to the orphanage every summer since but also have the blessing of visiting with my Compassion sponsor child every year too…… Lindsey, thank you for bringing attention to the lies I formerly believed in.

  • Thank you for serving in Guatemala. My sponsored child is in Guatemala and I have been on a mission trip there just this past June with my family. The poverty I witnessed there was astounding and heartbreaking. I love the Guatemalan people and am blessed to help in a small way.

  • Thanks, Lindsey. My wife and I have been blessed to sponsor two young boys in Ecuador through Compassion. One of the things I appreciate about Compassion is that we exchange letters regularly and develop relationships with our sponsored children. This is so much more than just sending money. It is a chance to profoundly influence the life of a young person through conversation and prayer. Kudos to you and your team for taking it one step further and visiting the country in person!
    My recent post Cartoon- Humility 2

    • You are right. It is so much more than sending money!

  • AWESOME insight, Lindsey. Love your perspective.
    My recent post My Big Fat Mouth