The Four levels of Suffering

Suffering Level 1

Suffering is to be avoided at all costs

Suffering interferes with obtaining pleasure and possession, and so must be avoided. Suffering can only end in depression, despair, and complete loss of self-worth.

Suffering Level 2

Suffering is useful if I can control it.

A Level 2 view of suffering can produce some positive effects, but not long-term ones. If we think the end is in sight, we may be able to endure pain. If suffering gives us an advantage in the future, such as earning the respect of others, then it is tolerable for a while. But such effects do not last. Ultimately, suffering will cause depression, despair, self-pity, bitterness, anger, resentment, and isolation.

Suffering Level 3

Suffering can bring about good

Level 3 views suffering as an opportunity for growth in wisdom, love, forgiveness, concern for others, compassion, leadership, and humility. Suffering can encourage growth in the lives of others. When we suffer, we allow others to empathize with us, and we have the capacity to bring a depth of love and hope into the world that perhaps would otherwise never be possible.

Suffering Level 4

Suffering allows us to share in God’s love

When we share in another’s suffering, we share in God’s love for us. Level 4 allows us to trust that even in our deepest pain, even when we cannot see it, God can bring about a good that we never thought possible, and we can look to Him with confidence, and declare with true courage: “Thy will be done.”


Source:  Healing the Culture •


2 thoughts on “The Four levels of Suffering

  1. Pingback: World Youth Day Rio 2013 Suffering Paul Ryan Natural Law | Big Pulpit

  2. Pingback: Pastoral Sharings | St. John

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