As previously stated, every impact statement is a tool. This tool, however, is the first of three primary tools in this overall study on problem solving. It is built on the age-old premise: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The best way to solve a problem is to prevent it from occurring. This approach is best applied when we understand the four primary sources of problems.
Author’s Note: In Bible research I developed a tracking method I call The Rule of Proportion, i.e. how many times does a particular incident occur in Scripture. The Rule of Proportion gives an idea of the probability of similar events re-occuring. This is vital to understand in counseling as many often ask, “God, why did you let this happen to me?”
Following is my answer to such inquiries.
First, as much as we would like to think not, God could be the source of a problem. Following my Rule of Proportion, how many times do we read in Scripture of God directly inflicting something on someone for His own purpose?
Answer: Very few.
Because I teach this emphatically I research any inference of God routinely and/or indiscriminately doing so. The most direct example I have found is John 9:1-3:
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Yes, Jesus said God did this to this innocent man.
True, God could be the source of a problem. But, how many times do we read of God doing this to others? Based on The Rule of Proportion, I submit God is the least source of our problems.
To solve a problem, we learned, we must give it a name. Naming it leads us to God’s biblical solution. To name God as being the source of a problem prevents finding His workable solution to that problem.
Second, Satan could be the source of problems. Simply defining Satan could eliminate him as a source of problems. In English he is defined as the chief evil spirit and adversary of God and humanity. In Hebrew he is defined as an archenemy of good. In Greek he is defined as accuser, foe and enemy. Are these the attributes of a sound leader? No.
Scripture is replete with warnings about Satan. First Peter 5:8-9a is one of many admonishments:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith…
James 4:7 states this plan simply:
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from thee.
Had I known and heeded Proverbs 20:1: Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise, I would not have drank my first bottle of beer on December 31, 1951, which plunged me into 17 years of alcoholism.
Knowing and heeding the definitions of Satan and acknowledging him as a source of our problems, directs me to ask one question, “What can I expect if I put the enemy in charge of my life – problems?”
The cure for Satan-induced problems lies in preventing them from happening through personal choices guided by God’s teaching.
Third, other peoples’ poor choices (pardon the crass expression) slop over on us. Although this dilemma in life is enormous in its scope and impact upon us it is not untenable. All problems have solutions no matter the source. But God, Satan and others poor choices, added together, are not the causes of most of our problems.
Fourth and @1 is, most problems stem from the poor choices we make. No one stated this truth more succinctly than the cartoon character, Pogo, in his classic statement, “We have met the enemy and they are us.” And this is the good news relative to problem solving. How so?
Realistically, I would not try to out wit God to avoid experiencing problems on a daily basis. He is not the primary source of my problems. I would not contend with an invisible Adversary on a daily basis. I do not have to since Satan is a defeated foe. He is not the primary source of my problems. Likewise I could not change all the people who are daily trying to change me. They are not the primary source of my problems either.
But, the good news in all of this is, by the Grace of God I can learn to change myself by making better choices thereby reducing my share of the problems I bring upon myself.
Next time we will look at the mechanics of how to Attack the Problem and Not the Person as the best method of preventing problems.
Rev. Thomas (Tom) C. Lacy, Advisory Board Member of the Virginia Christian Alliance and Founder and Director, of New Hope Counseling Service and on the Board of Advisors of the Virginia Christian Alliance