I am an optimistic idealist.
I like to see the good in people I know, and I like to believe the best of people I have not met. I like to believe in change, and occasionally, I like to believe in Barack Obama. This optimistic idealism that I hold to is not inherent in my nature, nor is it in yours. It is something one choses to learn, and in order to be learned it must be consciously practiced each day.
Now, despite my optimistic idealism I do have a healthy dose of realism. I understand that we will never reach Thomas Moore’s vision of Utopia (gosh, even that has been torn apart by the critics), nor do I wish to ever reach such a state. For that I find my hope in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection and His gift of GRACE to humanity. I believe that it is only through Him that we truly live.
After all, it was Jesus Christ himself who instructed is us to treat those we don’t like well (Matt. 5:43-48), to give our possessions to the poor (Matt. 19:21), to give to others without expecting anything in return (Luke 6:35), to essentially be the ultimate stewards of goodwill.
“Everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy
or, for the more culturally relevant,
“If you wanna make the world a better place, then take a look at yourself and then make a change.” – Michael Jackson
I want to encourage you to shift your thinking a little bit. Be an optimistic idealist who has a healthy dose of realism. Understand that a perpetual cycle of cynicism and negativity will not benefit society nor will it fulfill what Christ has asked of us. While believing that we, as mere humans, will one day establish a perfect world is rather foolish, each one of us can still do our part in fulfilling what Christ has asked of us.
“True godliness does not turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavours to mend it.” – William Penn