An open letter to my young friends about the Invisible Children drama


What happened with Invisible Children may have left some of you feeling disillusioned. Some of you may feel manipulated and disappointed and maybe a little foolish. I don’t want to see you discard your idealism and enthusiasm at the altar of discernment. Learning to give is as important as learning to think. My prayer for all of us is in I Cor. 13. May we be able  “to bear all things, to believe all things, to hope all things, and to endure all things.” 

Millions of young people embraced Invisible Children. Some of you became organizers and fundraisers and missionaries. You brought them to our school. You wore the bracelets, got involved, and supported the effort with your money and your prayers. You inspired me. Being involved with Invisible Children helped compassion grow in many of you and made giving become a habit. I want to encourage you to continue to embrace causes and work for change that reflects the heart of Christ. The next time you think you hear God’s voice don’t dismiss it because you are afraid of being hurt or being wrong. Believe that the Kingdom is advancing and that God is calling you to be part of it.

 It is important to practice responsible stewardship but we should not let caution sideline us indefinitely. Momentum and timing is part of enacting change. By the time we’ve figured out whether or not we can trust the cause or the leader enough to invest, the momentum can be long past. Concern for picking a winner sometimes gets tangled up with pride and fear to the point that practicing discernment can become an excuse for never investing our lives in anything. I want you to know that God can work through imperfect organizations and people and that you can make a difference when you get involved. May we all learn to practice analysis without paralysis.

Our culture gives us all reasons to be cynical. Failures and imperfections are likely to go public, if not viral. In such an arena it’s no wonder you’ve learned to expect failure and to accept it. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Your generation is generally compassionate and forgiving. But you see the way people distance themselves from those who fail. You hear the jokes and the judgment. You see the veiled delight in juicy gossip. You see support withdrawn and backs turn when someone messes up. And you learn. I apologize that my generation has taught you to hide failure and fake perfection for the sake of acceptance. Know that Jesus came to redeem us not to make us look good in front of other people. Authenticity is vital to restoration. He is our hope for good and for change. Continue to act with hope.

I Cor. 13 points out that spiritual gifts, knowledge, faith, and charitable giving are nothing without love. That doesn’t mean they are nothing. They belong in our lives. They are, in fact, crucial to the survival of Christians and Christianity but love is the force that animates them.

I love these lines from Take my life and let it be:” Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.” Keep moving at the impulse of His love. 

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