Sunday, October 6, 2013

Do We Automatically Learn from Suffering?

Neal A Maxwell said:

One of the realities of the kingdom is that we work with each other in the midst of our imperfections. We see those imperfections as well as the traits and talents that God has blessed us with. And during this process of life together in the community of Saints, we watch each other grow. It is not surprising when we see each other grow as a result of the opportunities in the kingdom. And it isn't usually just one muscle that is developed. On the other hand, we see people in the Church for whom adversity is an anesthetic and for whom suffering is a sedative. And in that soil the root of bitterness can spring up. I wish I could say to you that suffering teaches automatically, but it doesn't. To paraphrase Anne Morrow Lindbergh: If suffering inevitably taught us, the human family would be a very wise family indeed. (see Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead [New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973], p. 214). It takes meekness to learn from suffering.

Some here know that for 25 years I have felt one of the precious verses in all scripture about discipleship was the one given to the Prophet Joseph in Liberty Jail: "All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good" (D&C 122:7). That premise is that experience is valuable, and the only way to have it is to have it. And whether it involves adversity or whatever, then we are blessed. Notice these lines from Paul: "Knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope" (Romans 5:3–4).
You may ask, "There is no other way?"

And I answer, "No, there is not. There is no other way." And thus, in this discipleship about which I am speaking, it is so essential that out of these experiences we form character. It is much easier in this life to be a character than to have character. And we see characters before us in the media all the time. To have character is a special and wonderful thing, but to develop it is not a pain-free process.