It's Not My Problem!
It’s hard to go through life without having heard or even used the phrase “It’s not my problem!” We hear it most often in the workplace, but its usage often finds its way into our personal lives and relationships as well.
Even though this phrase seems simple and harmless, at the root of it, lays a certain degree of self-centeredness. What we really mean by it is, “I don’t really care about your problem because I have more important things to worry about myself.” Yet it remains one of the easiest statements for us to justify to ourselves. We might argue that we are just stating a fact which is undeniably true. It really isn’t our problem and maybe we really do have more important issues affecting our lives. Yet we have to wonder whether it’s the Christian thing to say?
Imagine that you were praying to Jesus asking him for help with a troubling issue in your life and you suddenly heard him respond, “It’s not my problem!” Wouldn’t you be shocked to hear such a statement? Of course you would because Jesus would never respond like this. Throughout his life, Jesus listened to the troubles of others with great sympathy and compassion. He took other people’s burdens upon himself saying:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28–30
Since we are called to be like Christ should we not at least listen to the troubles of others with sympathy and compassion? Though it may not be within our means to solve another person’s problem, it is always within our ability to listen to them and show them some sympathy and compassion. Though the particular circumstances in which we might be tempted to say, “It’s not my problem” may vary widely between personal and business concerns there are always alternative ways of responding to others who are troubled that are far more consistent with Jesus’ teachings. Here are some practical things we could do depending on the situation:
- Offer to pray for the person.
- Say, "I’m not sure how to help you, but let me look into it."
- Say, "I’m not sure how to help you, but this person may be able to assist you better."
- Even if you don’t know how to help the person and aren’t sure who could, you can always listen to them and sympathize with their concerns and say a silent prayer for them.
Though many problems are beyond our ability to resolve for one another, nothing is beyond God’s power. We can lift up all of our troubles and the concerns to the Lord Jesus Christ and have confidence that he will help us, for it is written:
The poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. – Psalm 34:6
So the next time we find ourselves tempted to say, “It’s not my problem” let us stop and listen to the concern with sympathy and compassion just as Christ does for us.
(Inspired by a message from Keith)