Do You Know What I Mean?

It’s hard to solve a problem without knowing what the problem is.  And the nature of an issue is, sometimes, in the eye of the beholder.  Couple these with there being more than one way to skin a cat, and it’s easy to understand the confusion.  Of course, even then, we need to know the sort of cat we’re skinning and if it might object.  Often, proposed and well-executed solutions fall short of their marks returning us to the original point of whether or not we really knew what we were shooting at.  It is impossible to reach a destination by traveling in the wrong direction, and it is impossible to address an issue on the wrong terms.

The reason that political solutions don’t solve societal problems is that they address the wrong things.  Life is spiritual at root, and intangible realities are ultimate realities.  This is not a consideration to our secular leaders for the most part.  It must be admitted that certain understand, but it is still true that proposed solutions only deal with brick and mortar and do not touch the unseen person where the true difficulties reside.  It is partly true that this goal is impossible for legislation to reach, but this reality does not excuse blatant disregard for the proper perspective.  Differences of opinion do not change the fact.

Of consideration is the difficulty resisting the impulse to assign dollar amounts to everything.  In a way, this propensity is understandable.  We would think money always helps, regardless, and it is somewhat natural to hand out the first thing that comes to mind as a remedy for distress.  But, herein lies the rub, we can end financing and facilitating problems rather than addressing root causes and concerns.  Good intentions do not ratify actions.  The perplexing problems of life cannot be solved superficially any more than cancer can be cured with an adhesive strip, and humanistic solutions do not remedy spiritual deficits.

We can’t save people from themselves.  While troubles may arise for a variety of reasons, it is not accurate to ignore the plain fact that some difficulties are self-imposed.  A steadfast denial of the important role of personal responsibility in life is fallacious.  Many needs cannot be met by anyone other than the individual.  People and institutions must understand that failure to prepare for life and demonstrate good character cannot be overcome by monetary contributions and may torpedo all efforts at assistance.  Even God will not save us from ourselves.  We must cooperate with Him.  He will not overwhelm the free will of man. 

A comprehensive plan to confront needs will recognize poles of tension.  It is entirely appropriate to help those who cannot help themselves.  On the other hand, there is a difference between enriching and enabling.  Institutions and individuals must recognize that physical assistance alone will not satiate spiritual needs or satisfy the lack of good moral fiber.  At some point, people must take responsibility for their own destinies.  Part of this has to do with personal industry and part with observing the need for power outside self.  Some battles will have to be fought alone and some in concert with others.

Scripture teaches us that the needs of mankind are met in Christ Jesus.  That is, the essential needs.  Eternal life is man’s greatest need and can be found only by accepting Christ as Savior.  In addition, true satisfaction in this world can be found in no other way.  These things being said, temporal needs persist.  Those who follow biblical admonitions recognize that a portion of the believer’s responsibility is to serve the physical needs of others and help them address life’s concerns.  People are often unable to ascertain their deep needs until their more surface needs are requited, and the love of God is manifest in the actions of His children.

Sterl    

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