14 And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life.
Alma 28 teaches us about the roles that sadness can play in our lives:
- When the Nephites agreed to protect the people of Ammon, they quickly found themselves in a terrible battle with the Lamanites. Even though they won the battle, many lost their lives, and their families mourned for them. Their sadness had a sanctifying effect upon them, because it turned them toward God: “This was a sorrowful day; yea, a time of solemnity, and a time of much fasting and prayer” (verse 6). Sadness can remind us to reach out to our Heavenly Father, who loves us.
- Mormon announces the end of the story of Ammon and his brethren by reminding us of “their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy.” Their joy came after much sorrow and suffering. As King David said, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Sadness is sometimes a part of the price we pay for the happiness we seek.
- In the fifteen years that judges had reigned, the Nephites had experienced “an awful scene of bloodshed” (verse 10). Some of the survivors experienced a mixture of sadness and fear, because their loved ones were not prepared to return to God. Others experienced a blend of sadness and happiness: “Many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness” (verse 12). In some cases, we can be both happy and sad at the same time. (See also Mosiah 25:8-11.)
- Mormon tells us that inequality comes “because of sin and transgression” (verse 13). Sin leads to “death and destruction,” which is the cause of sorrow. Righteousness brings the light of Christ into our lives, which makes us happy (verse 14). Sin causes unhappiness in our own lives and in the lives of others; righteousness brings happiness.