Determination of Character
Reincarnationists suggest, or insist, that compensation for present experiences is given in future incarnations. In our returns to earth we are rewarded for the good we have done and punished for our wrongs.
The New Church teaches that the consequences of good or bad actions are immediate, not just in outward experience, but also in the deeper level of their effect on our character. A single existence on earth is enough to determine a person’s character. And the character developed here, not under compulsion but in free response to the different inner and outer influences which bear upon us, continues in the afterlife.
Seen from a spiritual standpoint, even if the situations we are in here on earth seem far from ideal outwardly, they are all directed by the Divine Providence so as to bring us into a state of heart and mind which prepares us for our eternal service. It is not wealth or poverty, sickness or health, high or low position, but character that counts. Not what we have, but what we are. Experience is stuff to try our strength on, and we should take our circumstances as a way toward compassion. If we react with good spirit to our present conditions, we gradually create new and better ones.
It is not necessary or desirable that we be forced to conform to one type of personality. An individual is happy in the life of good which he freely chooses, and if that good is not the highest, he can still enjoy it as long as his actions do not hurt other people.
Just as in the human body there are organs which have higher, middle, and lower functions, all of which are necessary for the health of the whole, so in spiritual society there are different levels of people who are happy and healthy in doing services which are all needed for the common good, whatever their status is.