There has been a lot circulating the Internet regarding this whole issue of Joseph Kony.
The video has been put out there, forcing us to figure out what we will do with it. The initial reaction is simultaneous horror, compassion, and outrage, compelling us to spread the news. And spread it we did, 50 million views and counting. But, after a day or two, the cynical side of humanity begins to question everything: the organization, our right to be involved, the effectiveness of the campaign, the godliness of pursuing the end of a man. For many, this questioning brings things to a screeching halt. People remove the video from their blog. Criticisms appear on Facebook. The conversation shifts from saving the children to rhetoric about best practices.
I get it, I really do. I understand that we want to be wise and effective. I know that there is truly a concern about being Christians who exhibit love and mercy to all, even (and especially) to such a godless man. But, there are two things of which I am growing weary.
First, I am growing weary of analyzing everything to death. Literally, to death. I know that this problem is more complex than I know, but when we get all caught up in our head trying to critique every little thing, we take the focus off the fact that there are over 60,000 children that have been tortured and traumatized through no fault of their own. Innocent children. What is wrong with acting, and acting quickly to stop this man anyway that we possibly can? If someone abducted my child and was torturing him, I wouldn’t stop to figure out all the long term implications of the situation, or to figure out the financials, or to debate the best practices. I would do whatever it took to get my child back and then I would deal with the consequences later. These children have no parents to fight for them. I don’t care about nationalism, skin color, supporting the Ugandan army, or any of that right now. I just care that this man stops brutalizing children, now. Can we move past the paralysis of cynicism and unite over this goal? (I am well aware that governments have been trying to take this man down for years. Although I wish they would be more aggressive, I trust that they have inside information of which I am not aware. My address is not to them, but to the American Christian’s attitude toward the situation).
Secondly, I am growing weary of Christians becoming so concerned about the welfare of evil men, to the detriment of those who are oppressed. The Bible says that we are to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). Justice demands that Joseph Kony be stopped by whatever means necessary. Loving mercy means that we would rejoice if he repented of his sins, laid down his weapons, and followed Jesus. In either case, we must demonstrate humility.
It is just like the Enemy, when we are fulfilling God’s purposes on earth, to question the validity of the call. “Did God really say…?” his slithery tongue spews, as loudly now as it did in the garden of Eden.
Did God really say, help the oppressed?
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4)
Did God really say to take a stand against evil?
Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? (Psalm 94:16)
Did God really say, to help the orphans?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
Did God really say, to defend the voiceless?
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)
Yes, he did. It is our job to do everything within our power to see it accomplished. Satan’s age old tactic is to question God’s Word and to distract us from our obedience to it. Can we do all these things and walk humbly in love. You bet. It is not loving towards Joseph Kony to allow him to remain in his sin, to go unchallenged by the people of God. And, it is certainly not loving to the children. Are we going to defend the one adult who has been making deliberate decisions to hurt other people, or are we going to defend the 60,000 children who have no voice or no choice?
Do I desire Joseph Kony’s demise. No. But, I desire him to stop the demise of others. And, for whatever you think of organizations like The Invisible Children, at least they are willing to risk the criticism to try and do something about it. God has put His Spirit within the hearts of his children, in part, so that evil would be restrained in the world (2 Thessalonians 2:7). We as Christians need to follow His conviction and move forward with what we know in our hearts is right, leaving the results up to God. So, what can we do?
1. Pray. God can undo Kony right now. The forces of evil are so strong in that man’s life that it will take an army of prayer warriors calling upon the armies of heaven to defeat him. But, it is possible. We can also pray for the children, that they would be spared, through miraculous grace, lifelong trauma. And, we can pray that people would rise up to rally hard against this evil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
2. Be a voice. We can inform others of the injustice. We can rally others to pray and get involved. We can speak up on behalf of the children, whether in Africa, or in our own hometown. Pass the video along, as a way to raise awareness.
3. Do what you can. If you feel unsure about The Invisible Children, then support an organization like World Vision who have a shelter (Children of War Rehabilitation Center in Gulu, Uganda) on the ground for these children. At the very least, sponsor a child.
4. Don’t overthink. When God asks you to do something, obey right away. It might not always seem logical, but if it is truly His voice you hear, it will always be right.
Christianity Today: Deliver Us From Joseph Kony (an article written in 2006)
Furmanifesto: Those Who Won’t
New York Times: Kony’s Victims and the Kony 2012 Video
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