Most religions teach that something is wrong, terribly wrong, with our temporal existence. Maybe it’s not. Maybe, just maybe, life’s imperfection is actually the purpose of our existence. Maybe this flawed world is God’s perfect plan for our growth and development to enable us to experience ultimate joy.
It is interesting that “imperfections” were essential in the creation of the material universe. Scientists currently believe that all the matter in the universe was created when practically infinite energy—sounds a lot like God’s power—converted into matter in one big bang. A very small portion of the matter that was created continued to exist instead of collapsing in on itself because about one out of a billion particles of matter were created without a corresponding antimatter particle. All the rest of the matter and antimatter converted back into dark energy, which influences how the universe expands. This disparity, or “imperfection,” between the matter and antimatter particles enabled the creation of matter. Then, the lack of uniformity—another “imperfection”—in some hydrogen atoms enabled the force of gravity to attract other atoms, thus creating a dynamic cosmos where suns were created as the weight of trillions of hydrogen atoms crashing into each other created nuclear fusion, which produced new, heavier elements until the star exploded when iron was eventually created. These violent explosions then produced precious metals like gold and platinum. The dynamic universe continued to develop as stardust crashed together to form planets, moons, and asteroids. The earth even obtained its life-sustaining water through a great collision with an asteroid.
It is interesting that just as imperfections and crushing conflict were essential to create our beautiful world, our interaction with other imperfect humans is essential for our personal development into a radiant being like God. There is an interesting parallel to how the imperfections in this world play an integral role in our spiritual development.
Just before the Savior told his follower in his Sermon on the Mount to be perfect―in other words, to fully develop their capacity to love as God loves us―he told them to love their enemies.
Developing the ability to love those who hate us is the pinnacle of our life mission. This is true charity, the pure love of Christ. We cannot reach this level of love by ourselves. We need God to fill our hearts with his love in order for us to be able to love our enemies. Can you see how this works? As we invite God into our hearts to empower us to forgive and love others, we become more unified with the Divine than in practically any other way. Seeking God’s love to empower us to forgive others is the ultimate source of unity with God.
Seeking God’s love to empower us to forgive those who have neglected us, offended us, or injured us is the greatest way to invite God’s love into our hearts to heal our souls and unite us with the Divine.
I am going to share a very personal story with you. Like all of us, my parents were a mixed bag of positive and negative attributes. On the negative side, my father was very controlling. One day when I was about thirteen years old, while we were in our swimming pool, my dad grabbed me and held me under water and then stepped on me so I couldn’t get up. I struggled with all my might to escape and breathe. Finally, at the last desperate moment before I knew I would drown, I gave up and went completely limp. Only then did my father allow me to surface and breathe. I believe he was trying to demonstrate to a young teenager that he controlled my whole life, even my ability to breathe. Needless to say, I had issues to deal with from growing up in such a controlling environment.
A few years ago, while driving back from Los Angeles, I was thinking about my dad and sincerely sought the Lord’s help so I could forgive him more than I already had. In my mind’s eye, I was then able to see my dad in the way I believe the Savior views him. He was a sensitive boy about thirteen years old with dark hair. I will never forget the scared look in his eyes as he tried to deal with his parents’ recent divorce. For the first time, I felt compassion for my father.
The Lord enabled me to love my Father in a way I never had before, and through this process, He healed my soul. God can and will empower us to love those who offend and hurt us if we sincerely seek His love, and through this process, we are able to get closer to God than practically any other way.
This is an imperfect world by design. The only way to make any sense out of a world where we feel pain and sorrow is to view it from an eternal perspective. As Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor 15:19). We need an eternal perspective because we are eternal beings.
We did not just spring into existence upon conception or at birth. The essence of our being, our spirit, our personal identity existed before this mortal life, and it will continue to exist after we die. God knows us personally and cares about each one of us individually. We are more than just another speck of matter in the expanse of the universe. We each are a personal child of God and are integral to the process by which God continues to create joy for us and Him.