What problem are we trying to solve?

Our first awareness of a problem usually starts with symptoms, the outward evidence that something is wrong—that something, somewhere, needs to be fixed. But it’s not always clear at the outset where to start in identifying the root cause of the difficulty. I’ve learned that however much the setting and the individuals involved vary, efforts to effect change need to start with the same simple question: “What problem are we actually trying to solve?”

When you see a stain in a ceiling caused by a water leak, the source of the problem is not the ceiling itself—that’s just where the problem becomes visible. The source of the problem is usually farther up, in the flashing around the chimney or perhaps the plumbing several floors above. There’s no point setting out to solve a problem if we’re not clear about its cause and exactly what needs to be fixed.

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Bible Lens—July 1–7, 2019
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