Pain should be considered a POSITIVE thing while suffering should be considered a NEGATIVE thing.
"Pain tells you that you are still alive" yells a Marine buddy of mine, when I complain about my knee. "Pain tells you there is something wrong" says my chiropractic friend, "You don't want to kill the pain, you want to find the source and fix it." CS Lewis tells us that pain is God's megaphone to stop and pay attention to him. So pain is a positive thing when it tells you that you are alive, it gives you a barometer of something wrong that needs to be fixed, and pain tells you to slow down and focus on the important stuff.
Suffering, on the other hand, is a result of injustice, inaction, and just plain SIN in people's lives. Suffering happens as a result of poor/bad choices by people. A few men choose to fly an airplane into a building and people suffer. Choosing alcohol or gambling over responsibility causes suffering in addiction and broken relationships. We all suffer because of OUR bad choices and because of the bad choices of others.
Pain of the heart is good. It promotes growth and maturity when a teenage crush crumbles. It shows compassion and even spurs to action when the pain is caused by the suffering of others. It shows a healthy conscious when pain of the heart is a result of guilt in a wrong you have done.
Suffering of the heart is bad. Suffering of the heart is the damage that the heart experiences in abuse and causes a person to be closed and cold.
My six knees surgeries caused me to walk funny. After a few years of walking funny I developed hip problems and experience a sharp click every time I lift my leg to put on pants. The knee, the walking funny, the hip issue all have now (35 years after my first surgery) led to a bulge on my lower spine which makes me change the way I sleep and how much I lift. Is this pain or suffering?
It's pain because the knee surgeries forced me to leave basketball and focus on other things and those other things put me where I am now.
It's suffering because as a 15 year old in the hospital I didn't deserve what happened to me.
It's pain because as a 50 year old I know I have never been innocent.
It's suffering because I know if I really wanted to work at my rehab I probably could have prevented a few of the surgeries and had less pain now.
It's pain because my heart was broken because I lost something every Indiana farm boy dreams of doing: playing basketball. BUT that broken heart lead to me being a more compassionate and less prideful person.
Pain and suffering go hand in hand and it is hard to separate the two. In YOUR mind and through YOUR pain seek what you can learn, how you can grow, and what you can change. If you do this you can turn suffering into pain, pain into growth, and growth into character.