Poverty’s Other Lie

At Compassion, we often refer to poverty as a liar. We’ve come to understand how the evil of poverty speaks into the lives of its victims, telling them that the cycle cannot be broken.

Poverty tells children not to dream. Dreams are for the rich. It tells their parents not to hope. Hope is for those with a future. It whispers to the sick, “You will never afford to be healthy.”

four boys posing for photo

To the hungry, poverty growls in the pit of their stomachs, “You’ll never be full.” To the downtrodden, the forgotten, the abused and neglected, poverty boldly proclaims, “You don’t matter. That’s why you’re poor. Because you’re not important enough to survive.”

Sadly, millions have bought into the lie. We see it in sullen, desperate faces and hear it in tearful cries of anguish.

Yet poverty’s other lie is just as powerful.

Poverty also lies to us. Yes, us … some of the wealthiest people in the world. Through overwhelming statistics and dire images on the evening news, poverty tricks us into believing the problem is too big. It tells us that our arms can never reach around the globe to help the most vulnerable. It tells us that our efforts will always be too small. Meaningless.

For too long, we have listened to this lie. We believed without questioning. We accepted without debate or discussion.

It’s time to debate. It’s time to discuss.

It’s time to bring down this lie.

Because the truth is, we CAN make a difference. We DO make a difference. No, we ARE making a difference.

The truth is that the number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half in the last generation. In half! Our generation could very well bring that to zero — if we don’t buy into the lie.

Millions are surviving health threats that would’ve killed them just 10 years ago — malaria, diarrhea and other preventable illnesses. We’ve cut in half the number of children in the developing world who die before their 5th birthday. Lives are being changed.

two smiling girls with younger boy

And this should come as no surprise. That very truth was laid out for us in Isaiah 58. We’re told that if we “loose the chains of injustice”, if we spend ourselves “in behalf of the hungry” and “satisfy the needs of the oppressed,” our “light will rise in the darkness” and our “night will become like noonday.”

When the light comes on, the lies of the dark are exposed. Monsters are powerless. Poverty’s harrowing shadow cowers in fear.

Poverty’s other lie has been exposed.

The poor, the hurting, the neglected, the abused, the forgotten … they DO matter. And what we do to help is significant. It’s epic. It’s biblical. It’s Christ-like.

That’s the truth.

9 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Christian Couples Retreat July 17, 2011

    Yes, I believe the most harmful lie that people allow themselves to come under, is the lie that they will not make a difference. If everyone thinks that way, then nobody gives and thus the accumulation of many donations that all can form one big donation never gets accomplished. We need to give believing that many others will give and pray that others will give when we give so that we have confidence that our small donation will make a big difference.

  2. Lori July 14, 2011

    Thank you for this very moving message. And in His infinite grace, Christ blesses us as we bless others. How beautiful is that?!

  3. Dorothea Mapp July 12, 2011

    This is such a powerful blog. There are so many facets to the effects of poverty that we never think about, and this is one such case. I love the compassion of this blog. I love that we know that poverty is not just something one get’s over, but something one survives with the aid of others oftentimes. I taught school for a couple of years in an “impoverished” area here in the states and I saw the effects of unchecked poverty, and fought everyday with teachers who felt that the children should just “get over it.” I love Compassion and all it stands for.

  4. Vicki Small July 12, 2011

    Excellent post, Tim. Well done!

  5. Juli Jarvis July 12, 2011

    This is really an excellent post! Thank you so much. I will send it on for others to read…

  6. Keelan July 12, 2011

    Thank you for giving hope in a seemingly hopeless world and crushing the lies of Satan. He has no power and is conquered! Let us continue to ACT in Jesus’ name….Thank you, Jesus, for convicting us. I pray that it would happen daily in my life. Amen.

  7. Mika July 12, 2011

    First time here! Somehow sad but also encouraging website and blogpost. It is great there are people like you who speaks and writes for the poor people. God Bless you! Rev. Mika from Finland.

  8. Christine July 11, 2011

    So true. So beautifully written. Thank you.

  9. Christin July 11, 2011

    This is an excellent post!! Let’s shine the light in the darkness and expose the lies of the devil! I refuse to believe him!

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