The Problem

My friend from college, Randy Streu, posted this earlier today, in response to the tragic events that took place in Charleston, SC at Emanuel African Methodist Church just two days ago. He eloquently articulates what I surmise is the sentiment of many, if not all Christians, every time we read the news or listen to commentaries on the news…that all evil in the world is a matter of the heart, first and foremost…and external influences will do little to solve it until we meet the Truth.

In addition, this is a time, now more than ever, that we need to lift up our pastors, churches and communities in prayer.  Daily prayers for these matters can be read by visiting

Shared in its entirety with permission of its author; I share with you…

The Problem:

Folks, we have a Problem.

No, there’s no point in denying it, because the evidence is all around us. When peaceful people can’t study the Bible in Church without being shot down for no other reason than the color of their skin, it’s clear we have a Problem. When white cops kill black men, and we start digging for justification instead of lamenting another life lost, we have to admit there’s a Problem. When we’re so afraid of a people because some folks that looked a little like them murdered a bunch of other people that we can’t help looking at them suspiciously — or even declaring their very religion an enemy — then we must look and see we have a Problem.

And the problem with the Problem is, we don’t even know what the Problem is.

Racism is not the Problem.

When we have to lock our doors at night, and feel trepidation every time we send our kids out to play, we have to acknowledge we have a Problem. When we check the internet to make sure the sex offender living down the block wasn’t convicted of crimes against children, we find evidence of the Problem. When we feel the necessity to carry weapons, and to learn to defend ourselves from petty criminals and government tyrants alike, we’re trying to deal with the Problem.

But we fail, because crime is also not the problem.

When thousands of people across the globe are murdered daily, not by bullets, but by hunger and disease; when children cry because they can’t get away from the water dripping onto their heads from the makeshift homes they’re living in; when women and children alike are forced to sell their youth, bodies, and self worth just to eat, we must see we have a Problem.

But poverty isn’t the Problem.

Moms on welfare aren’t the Problem, and neither are the rich (regardless of how honest they are or are not). Black people aren’t the Problem. White people aren’t either (not even white cops). Immigrants, legal and otherwise, aren’t the problem. Neither homosexuals nor bigots, Republicans nor Democrats, feminists nor misogynist are, in truth, the Problem. The Problem isn’t hatred, it isn’t murder, it isn’t disunity, it isn’t theft, and it isn’t disrespect.

The Problem lives everywhere, from shanty towns to high rises, from mosques to churches, from small business to Wall Street, from house to house and street corner to street corner.

The problem is, we can’t deal with the Problem, because identifying the Problem is problematic in a society that wants to believe its problems are its own. But this problem is global.

The Problem is what it is, and remains the Problem whether you or I acknowledge to truth of its existence or not — and the evidence of its pervasive nature lives on in every cry of hunger, scream of fear, or shout of rage.

The Problem is sin.

And the Problem lives in me, and it lives in you, and there’s not a damned thing any one of us can do about it.

But thank God, we don’t have to.

Jesus Christ took care of the Problem for us over two thousand years ago, when He took the burden of the Problem on his back and pounded it, through His own wrists and ankles, into a wooden stake.

So why is it still here? Why do we — you and I and this whole world — still have to deal every single day with this Problem? Because He can’t lift a burden we won’t admit exists.

It’s true, we can’t change the world. You and I, we can’t take care of the Problem. We can’t even alleviate its symptoms! But we can acknowledge the Problem in our own lives. We can hand deliver our Problem to the God who loved each one of us enough to wrap Himself in our flesh and sacrifice Himself on the altar of our stubborn selfishness. And we can, by His example, love those of us who haven’t yet admitted their Problem to themselves, and guide them to the hands of the One who can take it away.

So, yes. We do have a Problem. We have a big Problem, and it’s killing us, one by one, a soul at a time. But we also have a God who is far greater than any Problem we could ever have.


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