“PEOPLE PROBLEMS”                                          By Pastor YAU

Text: Romans 12:9-18                                              July 23, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   It sounds familiar: A writer described her personal story like this: “My neighbor seemed upset with me. I guessed I must have done something that bothered her. When I asked if I had offended her, she answered with a curt “No!” I told her, “I don’t want any bad feelings between us. If I’ve done something that offended you, I apologize.” Since then the climate has remain cool.”

2)   An extreme saying: Someone had said, “The more I get to know people, the more I love my dog.” Dogs are loyal, dependable, eager to please and quick to forgive. Don’t you wish people were more like that? But sometimes no matter how hard we try to have a good relationship with someone, it just doesn’t work.

 

THE ROOTS OF PEOPLE PROBLEMS:

1)    Because all of us are sinners: Sin is the root of all problems people have including people problem. The sinful nature in man causes him or her to have problem with everything and everyone around him/her. Sin is the cause of suffering and problems as God pronounced in Genesis 3:17-19. Problem is part of life: at home, between spouses, parents and children, colleagues at work, people around you, your neighbors, someone in school or at church, just to name a few. Wherever there is sin there is problem.

2)    Because we are all problematic: Whenever problems arise, we usually blame on others for causing problems to happen. But the reality is: we are all problematic, capable and in fact causing problems to happen, not just others. If we are honest, we are part of problems if not the primary cause of them. No one is absolutely innocent when people problems happen. It always takes 2 persons to have a problem. Blaming others will never solve the problem.

3)    Because all of us are selfish: Selfishness is a large part of human nature. Selfishness causes conflicts of interest between people and therefore problems between people. When one person looks only for his interest and benefits, inevitably he will cause hurt or harm to the interest or benefits of others and problems will arise.

4)    Because all of us are unforgiving: Although we all ask that people forgive us for our offense, most of us, if not all, are very slow and reluctant to forgive others. Since we are all human and sinful and will cause offense and harm on others compounded with the spirit of unforgiving, people problems will continue to stay as a problem.

 

BIBLICAL SOLUTION TO PEOPLE PROBLEM: What was said some 2,000 years ago on solving people problem is still valid and effective:

1)   Nothing is better than love: “Let your love be sincere.” (12:9) The first remedy in solving people problem suggested by the Bible is love: genuine and sincere love shown to those you have a problem. The best life example is the unlimited love parents have to their children regardless of their condition. Love is the foundation of all human relationship: the beginning, the process, in time of conflicts and to the end.

2)   Giving honor and respect: “Honor one another above yourselves.” (12:10) Regardless of what others may do and say and how much you may hate that, showing honor and respect toward them will create rooms to smooth wrinkles and even solve problems. Everyone has his/her right to express his/her opinion, rights to do what they consider to be good and right. We also need to have respect of others so we won’t do or say things that may cause hurt or harm to others. Even God allows people to do wrong.

3)   Holding no grudges: “Returning to no one evil for evil.” (12:17) Holding grudges against your offender will certainly fuel the flames of destruction on people problem. No one can undo what has been done. Holding anger or resentment against others will never change anything but will make things worse. Forgive others as God has forgiven you is the key.

4)   Keep on trying: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (12:18) Solving people problem is never an easy task but is an important task. It takes 2 persons to have a problem and it also takes 2 persons to solve the problem. Some times it is very difficult or even impossible to keep peace with someone, but we have to keep trying “at all possible” as the Bible says. We need to keep an attitude of “wanting to” solve people problem instead of letting it grow or simmer to larger problems one day. Initiate a talk, a discussion or take a step back in humility. Always be ready to get over, not get even.

 

LIVE AT PEACE WITH EVERYONE: Why?

1)   Because the Bible demands: (12:18) If we truly believe that the Bible is the word of God and a guide for our daily life, then we have to obey and honor those words. We are saved to be free from sin, not free to do whatever we want. We have to submit our freedom or human nature or anger or even frustration to the control of God. When God says, “Live at peace with everyone”, we have to try hard and harder to do just that. This is done not because anyone deserves our efforts but because it is a command of God.

2)   Because we are the light of the world: (Matt. 5:14) Some may live in the world of darkness, holding anger against others, keeping bitterness in their hearts, but we are the light of the world and we suppose to shine brighter and do better than others so they may see the beauty of our Lord. We are chosen people. We are different.

3)   Because we are agents of reconciliation: (2 Corinth. 5:19) If we have truly reconciled with God and are fervent in bringing other to God, we cannot do that effectively unless we are willing to reconcile with others first. Our human relationship plays an important part in the effectiveness of our witnessing.

4)   Because we all have to face God:  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinth. 5:10) Too often, we forget that we will have to face God someday and be accounted for our acts and thoughts. We will have to tell God why we have not been able to live peaceably with people whom God places around us: some we like better than others. We have no choice on whom we may live with but we do have a choice on how we live with them.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Take care of your pride: Often times, pride gets in the way when we should live in peace with others. Pride also stops us from taking initiation to reconcile with others. Certainly pride pushes us to blame others for a sour relationship and pride always hinders us to ask for forgiveness. Take care of your pride and you will have less people problem.

2)    Sometimes it’s difficult: God knows that sometimes it is difficult to live with some people peacefully. That’s why the Bible sets the guideline: “as far as possible depends on you.” If we do try our best and still doesn’t get anywhere, God will help us to cope with the situation with grace.

3)    Make peace with God: Making peace with man is good but it is something temporary because no 2 persons are going to live side by side forever. One of us may move away or will die someday. But it is far more important that we make peace with God because our soul will live to eternity. All of us need to accept the plan of salvation as God has offered through our faith in His son, Jesus Christ. This peace with God will bring us eternal life.