Highs and Lows – You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way

I have recently heard the idea that “you can’t appreciate the highs without the lows.”  Most of the time it comes from well-meaning people trying to encourage someone who is going through a tough time or who has made some mistakes.  Other people invoke this expression justify why they have to “learn things the hard way.”

I think we should file the phrase “you can’t appreciate the highs without the lows” under “statements that have no meaning at all.”

Can I appreciate a good marriage without experiencing a bad marriage?  Can I be thankful for a good job if I haven’t had a bad job?  Can I enjoy sobriety unless I have battled addiction?  Must I experience bankruptcy to appreciate wealth?

Obviously it is illogical and unbiblical to think that bad is necessary to appreciate good.  Granted, the bad times can provide perspective to the good, but I am of the opinion that information can be as good as experience.  I, for one, prefer to learn from the mistakes of others.

The Bible teaches us to learn from tough experiences and mistakes, but it never indicates that we must experience these things to appreciate the blessings of God.  I imagine that the Bible would never warn us about sin if we could only “learn the hard way.”  Warning someone to avoid sin would be of no use because the only way they could learn that something is bad or has negative consequences is from experience.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

If sin was necessary to appreciate God’s goodness and grace, then God is deficient.  God either created sin or is in need of sin to accomplish his task.  Since this is not a Biblical or logical option, we can deduce that we don’t always have to learn the hard way (though we often choose to learn things the hard way).  I think that faithful obedience and simple trust in God is a more fulfilling avenue to joy than the highs and lows of experiential learning.

5 thoughts on “Highs and Lows – You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way”

  1. When I first read “you can’t appreciate the highs without the lows” in your post, my mind jumped to an idea that is the opposite of what you’ve written about. While your logic is enlightening and an angle I hadn’t actually thought from (which I thank you for!), I think a different perspective may be necessary here.

    I first thought of spiritual highs versus lows. In that sense, I completely agree with that quote. For myself and for many people with whom I have spoken (including religious), there are numerous times when the lows are more important and fruitful than the highs when it comes to spiritual growth and health. Although the highs are wonderful, I have found that getting through the lows really makes me appreciate good times and realize how much I have grown because I have been through low points. Also, lows make you ask questions, and when you find the answers you bring yourself once more to the top of the proverbial ‘hill’.

    I guess it all matters on your perspective. I agree that that quote shouldn’t be used to justify feeling the need to make mistakes to learn. However, you do appreciate some highs through experience with the lows. Hope this helps 🙂 God bless!

    1. Thanks for commenting Eliza. I think the lows CAN be beneficial but they are not NECESSARY. Also, I hope we learn to appreciate all of the blessings of God regardless of our current life situation. Blessings!

    1. Romans 5 talks about how we CAN use sufferings to develop the hope of redemption. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I guess the only exception to the rule is golf courses – your dad and I played a cow pasture last week that left us longing for the greens and fairways at Sleepy Hole!

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