Issue Spotting

lightsIn law school, education is facilitated by reading a whole bunch of narratives describing how courts have settled cases. Law school exams consist of long narrative descriptions of situations from which the task is to identify the potential legal issues and apply the law towards a compelling legal argument.

Each class is typically made up of one grade per semester; the final exam. It’s the framework for how to show the professor how much you know about the pertinent law. You can know all the law in the world, but if you haven’t learned how to spot the issues from the cases you read in the preparation throughout the semester, you are going to have a problem. Properly identifying the issue(s) is the foundation for being able to pass the exam.

I see and hear people mis-handle the issue all the time. Without getting the source of the issue correct, the solution is practically impossible. There is one of several sources for our circumstances:

  1. Ourselves – Bad choices bring consequences and require us to change our mind if we want to change our behaviors which impact our outcomes. When we break it, we buy it. If we don’t own our part of the deal, then it’s hard to expect God to “zap” us into a better deal.
  2. Other People – Living in community with other people (even church people) who are in a fallen world just like us leads to offenses, wounds and problems. Part of the purpose of community is to learn to live with grace towards other in granting the forgiveness we are afforded. As we grow in our knowledge of our identity, we become increasingly less susceptible to offense.
  3. The Devil – Gets way too much credit. While there are legitimate spiritual attacks, many circumstances come from our choices and many more are God calling us into something bigger by growing our character through adversity.
  4. God – Gets blamed for stuff that’s not His choice for us all the time. A skewed picture of the nature of God leads us to attributing things that aren’t of Him to Him. It also removes us from the benefits of relationship as He wants us to mature as sons and daughters and reduces us to rubbing a genie lamp with our three wishes to make life better.

A friend that runs a ministry asked me to pray with them a few years ago as they were going through a difficulty. He asked me to pray and ask, “is this an attack or is this of You?” Figuring out the source of the challenge was critical in knowing the way in which it needed to be walked out. Wisdom requires knowledge and knowledge of the source of our issues is primary in knowing how to walk them out.

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