God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Heb. 11:40
We come to earth to gain bodies and experience. In our families, communities, wards, and stakes we interact with others. Our association with others provides us experience. Ultimately our goal is to learn to "love one another."
My husband and I were faced with a conflict with dear friends. We wanted to resolve it in a Christlike manner. With this situation in mind, my scriptures fell open to Hebrews 11. I consider this chapter a great lesson in faith. I had faith that through the Lord we could resolve our conflict. What surprised me was the other lesson I learned from this chapter. By the last verse, I'd noted Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 400. " . . . every man who has a friend in the eternal world can save him. . . . And so you can see how far you can be a savior." I considered our role as saviors to others.
My husband and this brother have an eternal friendship. Yet each of them has weaknesses. As I thought about my husband's weakness which caused this brother hard feelings, I recalled how I learned the lesson of forgiveness from my husband, and wondered if this brother might also learn this difficult lesson from him. Immediately, another scripture came to mind how through "weakness were made strong." I was again surprised to find in Hebrews 11:34, a verse I'd previously skimmed, those exact words. I re-read verses around it, and realized Paul cited situations where saints were subjected to torment, torture, even death caused by other's weaknesses. In overcoming, the saints became strong.
By living among the weaknesses of others, we become strong. We gain Christlike attributes such as patience, long-suffering and meekness. The person with weakness is strengthened as he humbly accepts his weakness, asks forgiveness and overcomes. The person offended is strengthened as he practices tolerance, endurance and extends forgiveness.
The concept that "they without us should not be made perfect," took new meaning. Because of irritations, frustrations, offenses, caused by our own or others' weaknesses, we perfect ourselves and help others with their process of perfecting themselves. Susan C. Brown, Estacada, Oregon.