Doing what needs to be done in “a perfect world” is a laudable goal. In a perfect world, everyone would do for others as they would wish to be treated. In a perfect world, the homeless would be housed and fed and given the support they need to help them stay off the streets, alley ways, parks, canyons, and vacant buildings. In a perfect world there would be no racism; everyone would be color blind. In a perfect world, no nation would impose its will over another. In a perfect world, all organizations and people, including nations and corporations would share resources and information. In a perfect world, organizations would not profit off of human misery. In a perfect world, all people would receive the best possible health care. In a perfect world, no one would go to bed hungry. In a perfect world, we would not need law enforcement or armies. In a perfect world, there is peace. In a perfect world, we love and respect each other. In a perfect world, we practice radical forgiveness. In a perfect world, there is little need to forgive anything. In a perfect world, there is no divorce. In a perfect world, children are raised in healthy, loving families. In a perfect world, everyone’s gifts and talents are respected and honored. In a perfect world, the planet is cared for so that it can be enjoyed by the generations that follow us.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. We often fail to do what is necessary to bring about “a perfect world.” And when we fail, there is not always forgiveness. We may then feel like failures and unwanted. Our self-esteem is lowered and we give up trying anymore. A downward spiral begins that keeps us from working for “a perfect world.”
We want our way as individuals and groups. Everyone who disagrees with us is wrong (because we can’t ever be wrong, can we?) We associate with people who think and act like us. This keeps our thinking uniform without all those troubling ideas that others have that might make us think of possibilities that might not have otherwise occurred to us. We try hard to keep our minds free from ideas that might force to think we are not always right. Besides, it’s hard work to evaluate other ideas. It’s hard to compare the strengths and weaknesses of other ideas, let alone our own ideas. Only in “a perfect world” are ideas, perfect. When another group meets with like minded people, their opponents picket outside rather than being invited in for a dialogue.
People who disagreed talked to each other once upon a time. Now people stay with their own ideological clan. Ridicule of another’s ideas has replaced dialogue. Is this progress?
The biblical plan for us is “a perfect world.” Genesis calls this Eden. Jesus called this the kingdom of God. The prophets of old called God’s people to work for this. But it was easier to stay insulated from outsiders, avoiding their contamination. We pray in the Lord’s Prayer that God’s kingdom come, but we forget to do anything about it. Jesus didn’t say it was going to magically happen. Jesus commissioned us to get this work done. We need to pray and work.