Fix the right problem

Published 7:09 pm Friday, February 13, 2009

Included in the things that bring me great fulfillment in life is fixing things.

I like to figure out how to make things that are broken work again.

I have tinkered with plumbing, electrical work and a number of other things. Do not misunderstand me—I am not an expert in any of these areas, but that does not stop me from trying to work my way through such situations when the occasion calls for it.

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If you have watched any of the reruns from the comedy show “Home Improvement,” you might liken my skills to those of the primary character of the show, Tim the Toolman Taylor.

Yes, some of my endeavors have resulted in a less than desirable outcome, and there has been more than one time when I started projects that I wished that I had paid a professional to take care of before I ever touched them (my wife probably has wished it more than I have!).

One of my recent projects involved auto mechanics.

Nothing serious, just the changing of a blown bulb. The first challenge was finding out how to get to the blown bulb, then the correct bulb had to be purchased.

Do I need a 3057, 3157 or some other bulb?

Why does there have to be so many to pick from?

After I had everything done and the new bulb installed, it still did not work. How can anything go wrong with such a simple job? With some good help from someone else, I found out (to my embarrassment) that I had replaced the wrong bulb!

There were several bulbs close together and I thought I was dealing with the right one, but instead I had changed the one next to the bad one. The lesson learned was, if you are going to fix a problem you have to deal with the right problem.

Once the correct bulb was replaced, everything was fine and I was on my way to happy, legal and safe traveling again.

I wonder how often we try to straighten up our lives by dealing with the wrong problem.

Could it be that as a nation our leaders are trying to fix things by dealing with the wrong problem? Are we trying to repair things in our society by pumping lots of cash into them while failing to deal with our lifestyle troubles and misplaced priorities?

If we want to see things change in a positive way, both in our society and in our personal lives, we must deal with the real problem. And if we want to deal with the real problem we must look internally and not just on the surface.

Christ raised an important question in Matthew 7:3: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (NIV).

There is an obvious huge difference between a plank or beam and a speck of sawdust, yet that is a good description of how we so often deal with things that need to be corrected.

Dealing with the wrong problem will not bring about a positive outcome.

The Lord gives sound advice in verse 5: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Sounds like He intends for us to pay attention to what needs to be fixed in our own lives before we blame everyone else for what is wrong in our world.

If I had insisted on continuing to replace the wrong light bulb on my car I would still have the original problem, plus a whole lot of frustration.

The choice to deal with the real problem made everything right. That principle applies to life too.

May we all stop making excuses about the problems in our lives and ask God to help us deal with the things that are really broken. Then let us allow Him to fix them in His perfect way.