“I have problems. You have problems. We all have problems.” I recall hearing Zig Ziglar using this line often in his teaching to point out the fact that no one is exempt from problems nor should we allow it to be an excuse not to live life to its fullest. Problems are just a part of life. Some people are experts are pointing out problems. Others are experts at finding problems. While others move through life dealing with the things that come their way as just a matter of course.
Though we all seem to have individual problems, our society, and specifically our country, has some very troubling problems that we need to wake up and deal with. I woke up today to reports of the largest mass shooting in the history of our country in Las Vegas. As I write over 50 have been killed and over 500 injured. These mass shootings always seem to start specific debates and we hurry to the argument that makes us the most comfortable and defends the positions we support.
The truth lies somewhere among a combination of several different areas, not solely in a single position. There is no single solution, simple solution or immediate solution. Most of these problems need constant attention and adjustments. They never completely go away because evil is always present. This, however, is not an excuse for us to ignore them or leave them unaddressed. Prayer is important but the response to prayer is action. Let’s take a look at some of the problems facing our society today.
Hate seems to be bubbling in every corner of the world. There has to be some measure of hate for us to witness all of the violence that is so prevalent everywhere we look. The internet has made the world smaller and has given a voice to people who once had limited access to others that may hold the same point of view. People also use these tools to influence or recruit others to their way of thinking. If people think, look or act differently than we do, our outlook often evolves into strong language of extreme dislike and can eventually, and often does, lead to hate. Hate breeds unrelenting anger toward a particular person or group of people. Anger is one of the most dangerous emotions we have. This bubbling anger only serves as fuel for so many of the other problems we have as a society.
Mental Illness Problem
It is clear that mental illness is on the rise and that our society is not keeping up in the care and/or prevention of these mental illnesses. Part of our problem is that we prefer to pretend these illnesses are not real or that they are just things that people need to “just get over”. These mental illnesses are affecting how we interact with one another and how we respond to the normal problems that life throws at us. When ignored, our responses and interactions can not only be wrong, but they can be dangerous. Before you object that there is over-diagnosis and overmedication, I will concede you are right. However, it should not be an excuse to ignore what is real and rising. If each of us would educate ourselves about some of these pressing illnesses, we could be part of the solution for those around us.
I am not a gun owner but I have plenty of friends who are responsible gun owners. I believe they have the right to own those guns and have no interest in taking them from them. However, we have a problem with guns in the US that other countries are not experiencing. I am a firm believer that there are some guns that should not be legal to own. They are not for self defense. They are offensive only. I know that criminals will get guns, but that is true worldwide and yet other countries are not experiencing mass shootings like we are in the US. Criminals amassing weapons is not a sound or logical argument for why we should have them. Should we have the right? Certainly. For some. There is also the argument of “recreation”. There are lots of things done for “recreation” that are not in the best interest of the people doing them or society. “Recreational sex” or “recreational drugs” are two things done for “recreation” that are clearly not beneficial for society and so recreation or sport should be a very limited reasoning. I am not sure what the full answer is, but completely shutting down a discussion about how guns are distributed in this country doesn’t solve any problems.
The gun problem leads to one of our biggest problems and that is a conversation problem. People who disagree can no longer have dialogue. We see things our way only. We only listen to things that support our point of view. We can find a news channel that supports our point of view and we always walk away believing our facts are correct and our opinion is absolute. We identify with classes or groups instead of identifying with people. Almost all problems can be solved in the context of relationship, but it is nearly impossible to have relationship without dialogue. Marriage is the clearest example. You may not agree, but you must seek to understand. Understanding creates commonality and community and is desperately needed in our country.
Some normal everyday problems we just need to work through. Some problems, like the ones above, are things that need to be addressed by all of us – together. There may not be an absolute solution, but there can be progress as we seek ways to make each of these areas better. I have problems. You have problems We all have problems. Some of them we need to work together to resolve.