When we are working towards wholeness and healing one of the best things we can do is acknowledge we have an issue or problem. There is no point putting our heads in the sand like an ostrich, or hiding under the covers hoping the world and its drama will go away. Perhaps that may work momentarily, but unfortunately the problems will be waiting for us when we come out, or simply come crashing down on our heads while we try to live in oblivion.
Nehemiah in the bible is known as the man who was able to tackle a problem head on; get to the root issues and implement a strategy to rebuild and restore that which was broken. He also got everyone else working together as a team and family to fix the problems of his city and people.
One of the strategies he put in place to restore that which was broken, was to get the people to realise that they all must take ownership for the “brokenness” of their city. He called all the leaders and said, “see the trouble we are in”. (Nehemiah 2:17) Not see the trouble you are in, or I am in, but WE. Then he outlined the conditions; the broken down walls and gates, and how that made them all vulnerable to their enemies. Interestingly Nehemiah actually had a secure job elsewhere working for a King. He didn’t really need to be bothered with the drama of fixing a wall, but he chose to take ownership of the problem because He understood that you can’t fix a problem that you don’t take ownership of.
A key principal to seeing results and change in our lives and situations is to take responsibility for the things around us that are not as they should be. We all have the propensity to wait for someone else to act. take initiative, to assume blame or to take the lead in a situation. Many people even say, ‘it’s not my problem, or that’s not my job”. But when does it become our problem? Is it not our problem if our spouse, or partner is struggling? Is it not our problem when relationships are breaking down? Is it not our problem when people are addicted to drugs in vast numbers, where there are suicides, mental illness, homelessness and babies having to sleep out on the streets? How often do we wait for someone else to act and speak up before we do? How often do we look at the state of our homes, families, neighbourhoods, and cities and think, “what can I do anyway, it’s not really my problem?”
It may not be our fault what is happening around us, but there is a difference between fault and recognising something needs to be done about the “trouble we are in.” Fault is backward looking, whereas responsibility is forward looking. For it’s by owning and taking action regarding the issues in our own lives and the wider community that we will help both others and ourselves.
The world may be full of problems, but we also have a God who loves and cares for us; who gives wisdom to those who ask, and who wants us and our cities to be made whole. He will help us; He will tell us when to step up and when to wait; how to pray and exactly what to do, and not to do. But He can only guide and direct us in these things when we choose to acknowledge the trouble we, or those around us are in, and then be willing to take the initiative to do something about it.
“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in; Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” (Nehemiah 2:17)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given you.” (James 1:5)
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
Prayer: Lord please forgive me where I have simply turned and looked the other way when it came to my problems or those around me. Help me to take responsibility for the things that need to be sorted out in my own life, and to also ask you who, what and where I can take the initiative to help in my own neighbourhood and city. In Jesus name Amen.