Coping with Problems

By Wayne Jackson

This is a world cursed by sin (Genesis 3). It is, therefore, a world of problems. We all have problems—some greater, some lesser. We have health problems, money problems, employment problems, and family problems. Some of our difficulties may not be our fault (e.g., physical infirmity). Many of our ailments, however, are self-induced.

We have marriage problems because we don’t know how to treat one another as husbands and wives. We have financial difficulties because we haven’t learned to curb our spending. We have trouble on our jobs because we have not developed social skills. Sometimes our health infirmities are the result of not taking care of our bodies, e.g., drinking alcohol and using tobacco.

Unfortunately, some of us do not deal with our problems realistically. Here are some of the reckless methods many employ in trying to eliminate their troubles.

Denial

Some who have serious problems simply deny that they exist. This is typical of the so-called “alcoholic.” In his own eyes, he’s just a social drinker, not a drunkard. Before there can be any motivation to seek help, one must view himself honestly. The first step in resolving any problem is to acknowledge its existence.

Escape

There are those who attempt to run from their problems. Some, for example, constantly have difficulties at their place of employment. Rather than assessing the true cause, they simply move from job to job, never really remedying the situation. When there seems to be a pattern of difficulty plaguing you, don’t continue merely moving from one locale to another. Act responsibly. Address the issue.

Rationalization

Rationalization is when we justify our problems by assigning to them an explanation that makes us feel more comfortable. A person who constantly loses his temper may be inclined to say: “My mother was that way; I inherited a short fuse.” Many of us, who would not be convinced by the “rationalization” argument in an effort to justify murder, sexual promiscuity, etc., nonetheless employ it to mollify our own weaknesses.

We will never make any headway with our difficulties in life until we:

  1. acknowledge personal responsibility for self-caused situations;
  2. as God’s creatures, made in his image, seek his forgiveness for our mistakes—in the divinely prescribed way (Acts 2:38; 8:22);
  3. study the Scriptures for answers to life’s hardships; and
  4. seek out the help of reliable Christian people for counsel and encouragement.

May God help us to pursue the sort of happiness he wants us to enjoy. For a further consideration of this theme, see our book, The Bible and Mental Health.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.