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Suffering consequences helps you learn from mistakes

By: Mike Trentman, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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I’ve become accustomed to politicians tugging at our heart strings. They enact laws and write regulations that compel us to help feed the hungry with food stamps, clothe the naked with welfare checks, house the homeless with subsidies and grants, and keep our air clean, our land beautiful and our water pure with inspections, fees, taxes, and permits.
These programs have passed through capitols around our nation riding the Christian coattails of charity, good stewardship, patriotism, common sense, and being our brother’s keeper. We’ve been conditioned to dismiss the principles of free will and self-reliance these laws and law-makers offend along their way. Throwing money at a problem seems to be the solution of choice when amassing political power and satiating a guilty conscience.
In trillion dollar portions, our government is attempting to insure against human weakness and failure while promoting themselves as the equalizer of outcome; outcome of not only those who have and who have not, but even those who have and those who have tried and failed.
Consequently, those who do and succeed financially, who have earned their bread by the sweat of their brow, are being asked — commanded — to ensure that those who failed be made whole. Over-extended home owners are to be forgiven; bankrupt banks, insurance agencies, and car manufacturers are to be propped up. All are to be equalized with those who work and save and scrimp and sweat to make their ends meet, and bottom lines black.
Before becoming too political on the religion page, let me speak principally. Our nation was founded upon principles of moral agency, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
These founding principles are sanctioned by God, indeed God given, and to the degree we as a people adhere to them we are blessed spiritually and temporally. However, the almighty does not spread a safety net the width of our lives to catch our every fall. The atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to right all of our wrongs, but only after we suffer the consequences of our wrong choices. It is contrary to the laws of God for a man, the adversary, or a government to insulate us from the consequences of our mistakes.
In my life, I learn the most from my mistakes. Whether it was the question I missed on a test in school, the football interception I threw, the homerun I gave up in baseball, the offensive comment I spoke to another, or the botched bid at work, I have a long list of memorable mistakes which have, perhaps better than my achievements, steered me right down life’s paths. Making mistakes has prevented me from making bigger mistakes. Making mistakes has helped me appreciate my successes I’ve enjoyed. Making mistakes has helped me understand another’s plight. Making mistakes has compelled me to repent and try to be more like our savior. To be insulated from mistakes, painful though they may be to endure, does a disservice to those we insulate, and weakens the character of our society. While we encourage all to avail themselves of the equality of opportunity this great country still affords us, we should be equally supportive of the consequences of outcome that each will earn regardless of what those consequences are.
Mike Trentman is a bishop of the second ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Auburn.