What's Your Problem?
Yes, you! What’s your problem?
We all have had issues in our lives, so some may feel a bit offended if they were asked this question. On the other hand, others ask themselves this question all the time: “What is my problem?” There are reasons you ask yourself this or, with a shout of scorn, have been asked by someone else. Typically it all comes down to behavior: In one way or another, your behavior has caused this question to arise in your life.
Maybe you’ve mistreated someone, struggled with addiction, or have been dealing with inner turmoil, and for the life of you, you just can’t put a finger on it. In some circumstances, you don’t even see a reason to identify it because maybe in your mind it’s minor. Eventually though, things that we’re dealing with, especially things that turn into behavioral patterns, cause us to wonder why we’re struggling with this so much.
People may say things like “you have a drug problem,” and if there’s a drug ruining your life, then obviously that is the case. The problem there, though, is that knowing that I have a drug problem doesn’t solve anything or answer the question “Why?” Just knowing that you have a problem and being able to admit it can probably help you along the way of a 12-step program, but it doesn't identify the root or the reason this has taken over so much of your life.
For someone struggling with suicidal thoughts or tendencies, hearing “You have a problem with depression” doesn’t aid them in the process of getting better. “Well, thank you for stating the obvious!”
I’ve found that there is an answer to the initial question, and no matter what the actual issue is in your life, the answer remains the same: You have a people problem!
Somewhere along the line, you’ve developed a people problem, and the fruit of that problem shows up in various ways in your life. To you, this may immediately ring true, which is great; however, there are a few of you stubborn ones out there, and that’s okay. Let’s dive a little further into this to help you understand.
At some point in your life you developed a people problem. Maybe you’re innocent: Perhaps something was done to you that shouldn't have been done. Maybe you’re the one in the wrong: Perhaps you did something to someone that you shouldn't have done. Regardless of which side you fall on in the matter, from that point on, you’ve had a people problem.
That problem began to drive you, causing behavioral patterns in your life. It may’ve driven you to drink, to the degree that your drinking has become a problem. Obviously, that may not be your exact issue, but just fill in the blank with the matter in your life, the one that you no longer have control of.
You’ve also developed emotions that control you that derive from a situation in your life where people were involved, which is why this answer fits everyone. So let’s take things a little bit further to clarify and potentially help you identify the people problems in your life.
Maybe you had a situation in your life that you felt was unfair: Maybe someone cheated you. Because you’ve felt cheated, you’ve had difficulty trusting others, which has led to loneliness, depression, and suicidal thoughts. At the root of this situation is you and another person. If there were no other person at all, then this feeling never would’ve developed.
The point that I am making to you is that all problems begin with people. If there are no people involved, then there is no problem. You may argue that the problem simply derived within your own self, but you, my friend, are a person.
Simply put, your problem is with people, and it’s getting out of control. The good news is that God is in the business of fixing our people problems, and He has every how-to written in His Word. We’re surrounded by other people. That is God’s design. Since He wants us to be able to dwell together in unity, He’s also willing to step in and help us in this area.
Let’s break it down by using an example: You don’t really have a drug problem. You have a people problem. When you have a people problem, it really comes down to the fact that you have a love problem.
Your problem is with people and a lack of love towards them. To help you understand this, we will go to one of the most common scriptures on love. Think of this scripture in terms of I have a people problem because my love for them isn’t perfect and perfect love is written out clearly in this scripture.
1 Corinthians 13:4–7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Let’s take just one component of perfect love out of this scripture and use it in this context to break down why you’re really struggling: There may be one component that sticks out to you. You can admit to yourself that you’ve had an issue with this in the past. You have an attitude problem. This means, you have a people problem. And that people problem is a lack of perfect love.
Attitude problem -> People Problem -> Lack of Perfect love -> Keeping a record of wrongs.
Now you try it. What is the obvious problem in your life? And when you read this scripture, what part of perfect love is lacking when you think of the people problem that you’re struggling with?
“Love always trusts” could be a big one, and maybe your people problem is that you’ve lost trust in others. Or maybe in some way or another you've deemed yourself untrustworthy.
Perhaps this one strikes a deep chord: “Perfect love always protects.” But maybe at some point in your life, someone who should’ve protected you failed to do so when you needed it most.
Or what about envy? Your people problem could be that you’re envious, and it’s affecting the way you behave towards those around you.
We honestly could break down each section of this scripture and present a scenario. Ultimately it’s up to you to dig into this scripture and identify the lack of perfect love in your life. Maybe there’s a facet of perfect love that we’ve yet to mention here that is the most lacking in you.
A lot of our problems with people are found in the issue of keeping a record of wrongs: When it comes right down to it, we just need to forgive that someone and move on from the weight of unforgiveness.
Though it may seem like it would kill you to forgive that person who hurt you the most, it won’t. It will kill you to hold on to it and let it manifest within you as a drug and alcohol addiction. You get to choose: (1) forgive even though it feels like you’re letting them win or (2) continue to live your life with these ongoing problems.
The world wants to over complicate things and give you a 12-step program for every problem in your life. Here’s a much simpler solution. It’s just one step.
Matthew 22: 37–40 (KJV): Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Step 1. Love those around you.
That’s it. It’s really that simple. Love people the way it’s described in 1 Corinthians 13:4. If you can focus on that, then all your problems will be no more.
You can think that there’s no way that this is possible. That it’s too good to be true. Or you could go ahead and do it. The problem is you can’t just try it. You’ll have to dig into the Word, do the Word, and repeat the process. But to become problem free, it’ll absolutely be worth it.