of others he later treated in his care,

of others he later treated in his care, Frankl argues that we are not
able to avoid suffering however we can select a way to address it, acknowledge,
and move forward with revived purpose. Frankl’s theory, known as Logotherapy,
from the Greek word logos (“meaning”), holds that our primary drive in life
isn’t for pleasure, however the invention and pursuit of a personally
meaningful life.

 

            In truth many of us
today would find it impossible to imagine the harrowing experiences that Victor
Frankle lived through, let alone to create a transformative and positive event
from the true suffering and evil that he and many others experienced at the
hands of Nazi Germany. Frankl also theories that the one freedom allowed to us,
regardless of our own personal circumstances, including his imprisonment in a
Nazi concentration camp, is the freedom to pick our way of thinking in
accepting our suffering. (“Viktor Frankl on The Meaning of
Suffering”, 2018)

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Suffering as a
Transformative and Positive Event

 

            Victor Frankle
personified his own theology that all base freedoms can be taken away, however to
choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances is the key to
transforming evil and suffering into a positive event. For Frankl, meaning came
from three possible sources; love, purposeful work and courage in the face of
difficulty. Frankle believed that the primary purpose of life was to find
personal meaning. To find meaning, you must experience suffering; therefore you
cannot experience one without the other. Stripped to its psychological essence,
redemption is the deliverance from suffering to an enhanced status or state. In
life experiences, redemptive sequences begin with our experiences of a negative
emotional state such as fear, guilt, shame and despair. However many of these
negative experiences are “salvaged” by the subsequent coming of “light” and
following positive life events. These positive changes relate to the
development of important qualities of character, such as purpose, love,
diligence, generosity, and humility and are similarly recognized by Victor
Frankl through how he found meaning in his life after suffering through the
horrors of The Holocaust. Suffering
is recognized by many as contributing to personal growth of a persons identity,
thusly shaping the evil into a transformative event, so much so that it has
scientifically been recognized as Post-Traumatic Growth or “PTG”. Echoing St.
Paul on his beliefs, It is accurate to recognise that “”suffering produces
endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”
(Romans 5: 3-4).

 

The Life and Death of
Jesus in Suffering

 

            Jesus Christ, both
fully divine and fully human, was also known as the Suffering Servant. The
prophet Isaiah said the future Savior would be “a man of sorrows, and familiar
with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3) Though fully God, Jesus also took on the same
humanity as we have, in order to accomplish his saving grace (Hebrews 2:17)
Although without sin, Jesus Christ through his overwhelming humanity, also
experienced suffering and evil like all others. Jesus endured torture and horrific torment
when he was put to death on The Cross to save humanity from our sins. Those who
had previously revered and learnt from the teachings of Jesus Christ and his
Disciples jeered and spat on Jesus shouting; “Save yourself! Come down from the
cross, if you are the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:39-40). However Jesus knew his
life, although filled with suffering, had purpose or meaning beyond what evil
he was confronted with and what horrors were bestowed on him.

 

            Jesus’ purpose was the
redemption of others through his suffering and death on the cross. Subsequently
he was resurrected and then ascended into Heaven. Similarly Jesus life had
meaning beyond his death on the cross, which could only have been curated
through his suffering of betrayal and physical pain. Although Jesus Christ’s
suffering did not transform his personality and character in a literal sense as
compared to that of Victor Frankl, instead it transformed humanity itself into
“light” and allowed us to seek the Holy Spirit.

 

 

The Application of Evil
and Suffering Today

 

            Jesus in plain terms
died on the cross for our sins. He suffered “according to the will of God” (1
Peter 4:19) As such we must view his form of suffering as different to ours.
However it is only through our continued relationship with Jesus Christ may we
understand what God brings to us through suffering. God seeks to make us into
better versions of ourselves, into a likeness of him. We never realise what God
is putting us though until we reach that level of enlightenment post evil and
suffering, to transform our experience into a positive life event, permitting
us to grow in God’s light. However in spite of this, evil and suffering can
sometimes make people question their religious beliefs. It is conventional and
quite natural to believe that trial and tribulation through evil and suffering
is reason enough to doubt the existence of God in today’s society.

 

            Some people say that
God provided us with freedom and freewill to make decisions for ourselves, and
that suffering is in turn caused by the subsequent decisions that humanity has
previously made. God gave us the power to choose in our everyday lives. “Free”
will cannot be constituted as free if we have no choice but to choose good, as
such God does not prevent humanity from choosing evil instead. Suffering is the
allowance that we pay in order to choose and to be truly free in all our
actions.