You know, I’ve never really agreed with the statements that go something like this: “It hurts me to know that Christ uttered my name in the Garden of Gethsemane” or “I wish that I wasn’t a part of contributing to Christ’s pain because of my sins”. I even at one point had someone say “Never do anything that would have caused the Savior pain the Garden of Gethsemane”. I understand why people might say something like that – it can sometimes be inspiring to have that as some sort of mantra to help you remember to choose the right, and I don’t think that they’re wrong in doing so. But for me personally, as I’ve come to better understand the Savior and His Atonement, I am so grateful that He DID utter my name in that garden 2000 years ago. I love that He suffered for my sins. I don’t, by any means, mean that I enjoy the fact that He was in pain. I mean that I love that He suffered because that’s the whole reason why repentance and salvation are possible.
Actually, Jesus Christ’s Atonement is the ONLY reason why repentance is possible. The Atonement means that I can be forgiven. It means that I can be healed and cleansed and made perfect someday. It means that He loves me enough to go through an amount of pain that no man could ever even comprehend, let alone actually endure. It means that I have a way to walk in God’s presence one day.
Why is the Atonement necessary in the first place? Because I’m human. It’s 100% guaranteed that I’m going to make mistakes because I’m NOT perfect. I’m a spiritual being having a mortal experience because my Heavenly Father loved(s) me enough to want to send me here so that I can have trials, tribulations, afflictions and temptations. There is no other way for us to become like Him. Without this mortal experience, without making mistakes and sinning, but more importantly, without the suffering and death of our Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary, I wouldn’t be able to learn and grow and progress. I wouldn’t stand a chance of living with God again. In fact, I would actually become like Lucifer – bound in chains, unable to get out of the pit of despair because of my sins.
Mistakes, sins, suffering, temptations, trials, afflictions… All of that is not exactly easy. Not even close. But looking at it through an eternal perspective, all of that is actually a blessing and a joyful occasion because it is a part of God’s plan for us to become like Him and live with Him again someday. What kind of lessons would you learn if you were always happy, if nothing bad ever happened to you? How strong would you be if instead of walking, running, lifting or really doing anything, you simply sat around having everything handed to you? How would you progress to be better than you were yesterday if you didn’t know anything besides that kind of life? The answer is simple. You wouldn’t.
There’s a reason for opposition in our lives (2 Nephi 2:11). There’s a reason bad things happen to us, even when we’re doing everything right. And there’s a reason for the Atonement. It’s so we can be made stronger every day. It’s so we can learn and grow in new ways every day. It’s so we don’t have to do everything in every day alone.
So no. I’m not sorry Jesus Christ uttered my name in that garden 2000 years ago. I’m not sorry that He suffered for me. The only time I’d be sorry for that was if I went through my life never using the gift I know is there specifically for me. Instead of being sorry, I am relieved and grateful and joyful that He did those things for me. Because it provides me with a way Home.